The African Union Continental Consultation on Drug Demand Reduction organised by the African Union took place in Tunisia from 1-3 November. ISSUP was invited to attend and contribute to the meeting through Jeff Lee, ISSUP’s Senior Consultant and former Executive Director. The meeting was attended by representatives of 80% of African Union member countries, predominantly government personnel. During the meeting the countries provided feedback on their work and developments in the demand reduction field and exchanged questions on key issues that are relevant to the range of challenges faced in most African countries.
Jeff also presented a session on ISSUP to raise awareness of its existence and potential contribution to the substance use work in Africa. Inputs were also provided by UNODC, INL, Colombo Plan and WHO and regional organisations working in the substance use field in Africa. The conference allowed a very useful exchange and indicated the significant work taking place on the African Continent and the excellent work of the African Union in coordinating and supporting the many positive developments being undertaken. Of course many countries face tremendous challenges to address this issue particularly in respect to financial and human resources required to address the many needs. It is a continent where ISSUP’s contribution could be significant in providing access to people, networks, research and other relevant information as well as a platform for sharing the activity – and the questions – from those working in the field.