Organiser: Prof. Michel Kazatchkine (FR), UN Secretary General's Special Envoy on HIV/Aids in Eastern Europe & Central Asia; Member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy; Former Executive Director, The Global Fund, Member of Euroscience. Aidan Gilligan (IRL), Founder & CEO, SciCom – Making Sense of Science.

Monday 25th July, 2016: 12h50 – 15h20
ESOF 2016 MANCHESTER

Session Abstract:

Drug use and possession are banned in 150 countries worldwide with 33 countries and territories retaining the death penalty and 1,000+ drug-offence executions annually. This international drug enforcement regime has failed to reduce the use and harm caused by drugs. In response, the UN Secretary General called for a special session on drugs at the UN General Assembly in 2016 – the first in nearly two decades. As the fragile consensus supporting prohibition slowly unravels, experts gauge what might happen next.

Drug policies significantly impact public health. Criminalisation causes health-related harms. Policing is often misguided. Mass incarcerations multiply exposure and access to syringes is poor (e.g. only 2 EU countries provide needle exchange). Ultimately, organised crime controls drug access and quality – and many would say even policy – while social violence is escalating. Globally, 1/5 people who inject drugs lives with HIV and 2/3 are now infected with Hepatitis C. Eastern Europe and Central Asia currently have the world’s highest HIV growth rates – who knew? This panel examines the pros and cons of the ‘War on Drugs’, a mainstay of global diplomatic relations for decades costing tens of billions to run. Above all, they will scrutinise the disconnect between what science is telling us should be done, and what is happening on the ground.

Categories:

  • Fostering breakthrough science;
  • Ensuring responsible research & innovation, aligned with the values, needs and expectations of society.
  • Harnessing S&T to growth, employment, economic success and personal well-being.

Scientific Theme:

Healthy populations

Relevance to Theme, Special Relevance to Audiences & Diversity Statement:

This high-level talk will appeal to all delegates. Perhaps the single most talked about topic in 2016 will be global science engagement around the subject of drugs policy. This session tackles head-on what makes cooperation successful and sustainable, while reiterating the responsibilities of the global public health community, including researchers, educators and policy-makers. This carefully chosen panel includes male/female speakers from five different countries spanning three continents. These include representatives of impacted global, regional and national institutions; ministries; medical councils; policy and direct action public health officials. Attention has equally been given to ensuring a lively, balanced debate via the inclusion of a renowned media moderator.


SESSION PRESENTATION DOWNLOADS: CLICK HERE

French Flag
Organiser
: Prof. Michel Kazatchkine (FR),
UN Secretary General's Special Envoy on HIV/Aids in Eastern Europe & Central Asia; Member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy; Former Executive Director, The Global Fund, Member of Euroscience.

Irish Flag
Co-Organiser:
Aidan Gilligan (IRL),
SciCom – Making Sense of Science.
Canadian Flag
Moderator:
Prof. Kathryn O’Hara (CND),
Professor of science broadcast journalism at Carleton University; President of the Canadian Science Writers’ Association; Board Member, World Federation of Science Journalists. Kathryn O'Hara is professor of journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa Canada where she holds the CTV chair in science broadcast journalism. She was a member of the Council of Canadian Academies' experience panel on research integrity, and has written on the muzzling of Canadian federal scientists for Nature and other publications. She is past president of the Canadian science writers association and has served for four years as the treasurer of the World Federation of Science Journalists.

South African Flag
Discussant:
MD Glenda Gray (SA),
President, South African Medical Council. Dr Gray is the first woman to lead South Africa's premier medical research organisation the MRC. She is both a paediatrician and a world-renowned scientist in the field of HIV prevention, especially HIV vaccines and prevention of mother-to-child transmission. She manages the largest worldwide clinical trials network dedicated to the development and testing of HIV/AIDS vaccines. As a Discussant, she brings steadfast passion and expertise to helping solve the world’s drug problem.

Maltese Flag Discussant: Prof Janet Mifsud (MT),
Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of Malta. Prof. Mifsud is a clinical pharmacologist with a degree in theology. She is a member of the Centre for the Freedom from Addiction, President of Malta's Foundation for Social Welling Being, a member of the Board of Directors for New Hope, Caritas Malta which is the main drug rehabilitation centre in Malta and formally a member of the Malta Bioethics Consultative Committee. Prof. Mifsud is a Board Director for the Malta Council for Science and Technology.

 


Presentation Title: The World Of Drugs Policy Right Now

France Flag Speaker 1:
Prof. Michel Kazatchkine M.D. (FR),
UN Secretary General's Special Envoy on HIV/Aids in Eastern Europe & Central Asia; Member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy; Former Executive Director, The Global Fund, Member of Euroscience. For decades, the UN has been the spider in the web of international efforts to improve global health. It employs leading physicians, researchers, advocates, policymakers, diplomats and administrators with a single-minded focus on leveraging at the highest possible political level to try and remove the political barriers that prevent affected populations from accessing services. In creating the position of Special Health Envoy, Ban-ki Moon has centralised these efforts in the hands of one man. 

Talk Description:

Introductory remarks setting the scene on: (1) how the debate on drug policy reforms has been opened in the context of “activism” from opinion leaders and civil society, and in view of the Special Session of the UN General Assembly scheduled for early 2016; & (2) how harm reduction science may be the best illustration of the current disconnect between scientific evidence and policies, and between what is recommended in international standards and sadly, not implemented. This imbalance between ‘policy-biased evidence’ above ‘evidence-based policy’ is the root cause of tens of thousands of avoidable deaths and millions of avoidable infections.

Status: Confirmed


Presentation Title: Getting Harm Reduction Defined As A Public Health Response Within The UN

Dutch Flag Speaker 2:
Dr. Annette Verster (ND),
Dr. Verster leads the HIV/AIDS Department of the World Health Organisation in Geneva tackling key populations (i.e. people who inject drugs, sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender people, and people in prisons). At WHO she has developed the normative tools and guidelines for key populations, which were brought together in the 2014 WHO Consolidated Guidelines for HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for key populations and its supplement in 2015 Tool to set and monitor targets for HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for key populations.

Talk Description:

Asian countries are staking their ambition to place science and technology in the driving seat of their economic and broader societal plans to promote growth and prosperity. With the launch of an ASEAN Economic Community by end 2015, science has been elevated in policy-making and regional S&T cooperation, in particular, has gained unprecedented prominence as a tool for bettering relations and addressing common challenges. Key to this success are plans to grow and capitalise on the innovation capacity and capability of actors from higher education, research, business and entrepreneurship. My talk will provide timely insights into the inter-regional and global cooperation imperatives shaping this thinking. Concrete case-studies around flagship Japanese initiatives, amongst others, from ICT and industrial policy to the strategy on innovation, jobs and employment, will underpin how Asian partners are successfully transforming their research structures. I will also address how attitudes and perceptions about science, ranging from issues at the nexus of religion and politics, and competitiveness and immigration, may sometimes seem irreconcilable with science-based progress. Governments face challenges in terms of how science is viewed and used. Furthermore, how can a Western-oriented global science system incorporate our established and rising scientific communities and vice versa? My talk will explore the feasibility of a truly Asian scientific enterprise and its strong international dimension.


Presentation Title: Drugs, Drug Policies & Human Rights

UK Flag Speaker 3:
Ms. Niamh Eastwood (UK),
Niamh is Executive Director of Release. She is a non-practising barrister who started at Release in 2002 as a legal advisor. She has extensive experience of service delivery, policy strategy, fundraising and operational development. Niamh is also an Associate of The London School of Economics IDEAS International Drug Policy Project, a member of the Expert Steering Group for the Global Drug Survey and is a visiting lecturer at the Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University.

Talk Description:

Asian countries are staking their ambition to place science and technology in the driving seat of their economic and broader societal plans to promote growth and prosperity. With the launch of an ASEAN Economic Community by end 2015, science has been elevated in policy-making and regional S&T cooperation, in particular, has gained unprecedented prominence as a tool for bettering relations and addressing common challenges. Key to this success are plans to grow and capitalise on the innovation capacity and capability of actors from higher education, research, business and entrepreneurship. My talk will provide timely insights into the inter-regional and global cooperation imperatives shaping this thinking. Concrete case-studies around flagship Japanese initiatives, amongst others, from ICT and industrial policy to the strategy on innovation, jobs and employment, will underpin how Asian partners are successfully transforming their research structures. I will also address how attitudes and perceptions about science, ranging from issues at the nexus of religion and politics, and competitiveness and immigration, may sometimes seem irreconcilable with science-based progress. Governments face challenges in terms of how science is viewed and used. Furthermore, how can a Western-oriented global science system incorporate our established and rising scientific communities and vice versa? My talk will explore the feasibility of a truly Asian scientific enterprise and its strong international dimension.


Presentation Title: Personal Reflections & Perspectives as an Elected Policy-Maker

UK Flag Speaker 4:
Dr. Paul Monaghan, SNP MP,
Scottish National Party politician and Member of Parliament (MP) for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross. He is a board member of UHI North Highland College and past director of the Highland Homeless Trust.

Talk Description:

 


Presentation Title: Eastern Europe & Central Asia: Cause For Optimism & Alarm

Ukrainian Flag Speaker 2:
Andriy Klepikov (UKR),
Andriy Klepikov is Executive Director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine, one the largest HIV/AIDS-focused organisations in Europe. The organisation manages service provision to over 230 000 people with the highest risk of HIV-infection, primarily to drug users. Andriy brings to the table hands-on knowledge of dealing with addicted persons and the management of complex and comprehensive prevention, treatment and care programmes, aimed also at fighting TB, HCV and other deceases.

Talk Description:

The world's fastest growing HIV infections rates are in Eastern Europe and Central Asia with 130,000 new cases reported by UNAIDS in 2014 alone. My presentation will cast an expert's eye on a region that often escapes attention in global debates. Much of this is due to secrecy and the lack of data, but mostly the lack of political will, as the EU, in particular, has traditionally turned its back. With Russia representing 71% of new infections and the Ukraine 20%, my talk will compare and contrast harm reduction successes and failures in both countries and across the region. With 66% of people who inject drugs receiving harm reduction services in the Ukraine and only 1.6% in Russia, clear evidence-based lessons can be learned from these interventions. As a health activist at the forefront of the International HIV/Aids Alliance, my talk will also tackle the ongoing fight against the science and the negative impacts of Russian regional influence through politics, intervention and annexation.


 

PRESENTATION DOWNLOADS

• Prof. Michel Kazatchkine M.D.: "Waging War on Drugs Doesn’t Work, Applying Harm Reduction Science Does"