OAS Approves New Multilateral Instrument for Assessing Drug Policy in the Region

San Jose, Costa Rica – Representatives of the Member Countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved today in San Jose, Costa Rica, a new tool for assessing drug policy in the region during the fifty-second Regular Session of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), which was inaugurated yesterday by the President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, and in which the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, is participating today (Nov. 29th).

President Chinchilla congratulated the representatives from throughout the hemisphere who attended the session of the Commission on the progress in the design of a multilateral instrument for evaluating the performance of countries in the fight against drug trafficking.

The instrument is based on 27 approved recommendations from the Hemispheric Drug Strategy (2010) and its Action Plan 2011-2015. The instrument includes an innovative proposal that suggests a new model for the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism (MEM).

During the presentation of the proposal, the General Coordinator of the Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG) and Chair of CICAD, Mauritius Boraschi (Costa Rica) said that “in the current environment is very important to have strategies and mechanisms that facilitate hemispheric cooperation to address the global drug problem in all its aspects. Particularly, through recommendations aimed at strengthening the capacities of the smallest and most vulnerable states, as is the case in Central America. ”

Additionally, in detailing the set of components that make up this instrument of evaluation, the representative of Mexico, and Assistant General Coordinator of the IWG, Juan Gabriel Morales, said that “the proposal means the relaunching of the MEM, moving to a model of objective assessment, more dynamic and attached to the principles of the CICAD Strategy and Plan of Action.”

For his part, Ambassador Paul Simons, Executive Secretary of CICAD, said that “the Sixth Round of Evaluation will begin in early 2013 and will mark an important milestone in the implementation of the Hemispheric Drug Strategy and its Action Plan.”

Pursuant to a mandate from the Second Summit of the Americas (1998), the MEM is an instrument designed to evaluate the progress of measures taken by Member States to address drug control. This evaluation is carried out through the development and publication of national and hemispheric level reports. To this point there have been five previous rounds of evaluation. The reports are prepared by the Group of Governmental Experts, whose members are appointed by the Member States to be part of a multidisciplinary team. Experts do not participate in the evaluation of their own country.

CICAD is the Western Hemisphere’s policy forum for dealing with the drug problem. The Hemispheric Drug Strategy, approved in May 2010, expresses the firm commitment of Member States to deal with the consequences of the drug trade, which pose a growing threat to health, economic development, social cohesion, and the rule of law.

The 52nd Regular Session of CICAD, which was inaugurated yesterday by the President of Costa Rica, brings together main anti-drug officials from the region to examine the impact of drug trafficking in the hemisphere and explore mechanisms to respond more effectively and efficiently to its threats.

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