The CONFEDROGAS Consortium was founded on May 15th, 2013 in order to organize the Latin American Conferences on Drug Polices. Based on a history of results produced by conferences in Buenos Aires (2009), Rio de Janiero (2010), Mexico DF (2011), and Bogota (2012), organized by Intercambios Civil Association in partnership with Psicotropicus (2010), CUPIhD (2011), and Acción Técnica Social (2012) as local organizers, and with the support of WOLA and TNI, these six NGOs have now formally joined together to strengthen the drug conference initiative as a permanent, regular platform for discussion and development of new proposals.
The CONFEDROGAS Consortium, conformed by ACEID, ATS, Intercambios CA, TNI and WOLA, has successfully executed the 2014 regional Conference, which confirmed its compromise to continue developing this event every two years. Besides, organizations that make part have a large experience of common work and have executed a huge number of similar actions previously, by themselves, or together. Among others, TNI and WOLA have organized many Drug Policy informal Dialogues in Uruguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Colombia and Puerto Rico; Intercambios CA have made four Latin American Conference about Drug Policy associated with Psicotropicus, CUPIhD and ATS.
The CONFEDROGAS Consortium’s mission, according to the letter of commitment signed by the five member NGOs, is the organization of Latin American Conferences on Drug Policy, those that will develop in different cities in Latin America, with at least biannual regularity beginning in 2013. The location and the date of each conference will be decided between the members of CONFEDROGAS, as will the designation of the local organizer, the formation of the Organization and Science Committees, and the raising of the necessary funds. CONFEDROGAS members have agreed that their Executive Secretariat is in charge of Intercambios Civil Association that will act on their behalf.
For this purpose, the five NGOs are sharing their combined experience and institutional structure with the CONFEDROGAS Consortium. The five are:
Acción Técnica Social It’s an organization recognized both national and international level as an avant-garde and realistic organization in the analysis and approach of the psychoactive substances consumption phenomenon (SPA). Its technical and political actions are supported by the evidence generated in the projects they develop. ATS it’s pioneer in programs of access to injection hygienic supplies in Colombia, substances analysis services for public health and interventions in party and entertainment places. ATS actually holds a fluid relationship with international platforms, local organizations of the civil society and the Ministries of Health and Justice in Colombia .
ACEID is a non-profit organization that began its work at the end of 2012 and constituted itself legally at the beginning of 2013, formed by a group of professionals, artists, and activists interested in the transformation of drug policy in Costa Rica toward a focus on human rights. Its mission is the reduction of stigmatization and discrimination that people who use drugs suffer, along with the risks and harms associated with the offer and demand of illicit substances. Its principle objectives are: 1. Contribute to the transformation and strengthening of public drug policies based on a focus of human rights. 2. Provide theoretical and practical approaches with the goal of reducing the stigmatization and discrimination that drug users suffer. 3. Promote the development of social investigation on problems related with drugs, with the goal of producing scientific evidence that supports the making of political and technical decisions. 4. Promote the production, exchange, and dissemination of information for the decrease of risk and the reduction of harm caused by the consumption and traffic of drugs. 5. Foster the change of attitudes and the development of new abilities of those who work directly with populations affected by drugs. 6. Provide incentives for collaboration and cooperation between institutions and other social actors. With this plan, they have established four principle areas of work: investigation, awareness and training, advocacy, and communication.
Intercambios, civil association for the study and attention to problems related to drugs is an NGO created in the city of Buenos Aires in 1995. The institutional mission proposes to contribute, with a human rights approach, to the construction and application of knowledge of problems related with drugs. Intercambios recognizes that the stigmatization and discrimination associated with these social problems, in many cases, generates practices that violate people’s human rights; hence, it focuses its attention on the defence of human rights, social commitment, and scientific rigor. Intercambios is a key organization in Latin America regarding harm reduction and drug policy. It develops actions of political impact, investigation, and distribution of information, and strengthening of abilities, in association with other regional actors, with the objective of influencing governmental and multilateral drug policies. Since 2003, in consecutive form, Intercambios Civil Association has organized the Argentine Conference on Drug Policy and it has organized four Latin American Conferences on Drug Polices in association with local institutions in other countries in the region. Since 2011, and as events associated with conferences, Intercambios has organized three Latin American Awards for Journalism on Drugs and three Seminars for Journalists on Drug Policies.
Transnational Institute (TNI) was created in 1974 as an international network of activist-researchers dedicated to the critical analysis of world problems, present and future, with goals of intellectual support in movements that fight for a more democratic, equitable, and environmentally sustainable world. TNI works on a wide spectrum of interrelated issues. Thanks to the constant interaction between researchers and projects, TNI has a unique, well-informed perspective, with a cross-sectional approach to complex global problems. The TNI program of Drugs and Democracy has analyzed global tendencies in the illegal drug market and drug policies since 1996. The program has made an international name for itself as one of the principle institutions in the investigation of drug policies and as a critical observer of the UN institutions of drug control, especially the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the UN International Control Board (INCB). During the last decade, the program on Drugs and Democracy has centered on the development of drug policy and its repercussions for southern countries. Its strategic objective consists in contributing to a more integrated, coherent policy, in which illegal drugs are seen as a cross question in the broader framework of the objectives of poverty reduction and sustainable development, promotion of public health, protection of human rights, construction of peace and good government. It carries out investigations in the field, develops high-quality analysis and coordinates international conferences with the double objective of informing those responsible for the formulation of policies and the press and to promote political debate.
WOLA promotes human rights, democracy, and social justice through work with its local counterparts in Latin America and the Caribbean in order to influence policies in the United States and the rest of the world. WOLA works closely with local counterparts in Latin America and the Caribbean, analyzing events and regional challenges, and acting rapidly to ensure that a wide variety of voices are heard. WOLA’s work motivates defenders of human rights, promoters of democracy, and other activists working toward social justice to provide information and local perspectives at the international level. WOLA influences the public debate and puts new themes on the table through work with communication media and the promotion of public events with academics, officials, and activists. The availability of WOLA resources online, its events, commentaries, and memos, as well as the organization of delegations to the region and from the region to Washington, are opportune, reliable sources of information for journalists, academics, political actors, and the general public. WOLA is a key resource for civil society organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean, working closely with local counterparts in the region in the construction of alliances, research, and in promoting drug policy reform. WOLA works to reduce the harms caused by the drug trade and by the mistaken war against drugs, and works to promote, throughout the continent, drug policies that protect human rights and public health.