Evidence-Based Drug Policy Workshop for Honourable Members of Parliament in Zimbabwe
Harare, Zimbabwe, September 24 – Over 80 of Honorable Members of Parliament, including members of the HIV/AIDS Committee, the Health and Child Care Committee and the Sustainable Development Goals Committee; and His Excellency, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Prof. Paul Mavima from Zimbabwe attended an online workshop to discuss responsible and effective evidence-based drug policy interventions, and how Parliamentarians can drive the effort of implementing reform in the country.
The meeting, held exclusively for Parliamentarians of the above-mentioned Thematic Committees, organized by UNITE Global Parliamentarians Network to End Infectious Diseases, in partnership with Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network (NGO) and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform (UK); provided an overview of drug use trends and the current approach to drug control in the country, and proposed possible pathways toward reform and more efficient and humane regulation through presentations of best practices adopted in the region and beyond.
The international panel of the event featured opening remarks by high-level elected officials from Zimbabwe and South Africa; and presentations by experts from Frontline AIDS, Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network, SICAD – General Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies (Portugal), the International Drug Policy Consortium and the UNITE/APPG Drug Policy desk and moderated by Tendai Mhaka, Key Populations Coordinator at the National AIDS Council of Zimbabwe.
The event comes at a pivotal time for Zimbabwe as the country is grappling with an increase in problematic drug use among its domestic population and related public health issues; in response to which the government has taken many steps in recent weeks. Following the setting up of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on addressing substance abuse problems among youth, the Cabinet has considered and adopted the National Drug Master Plan for Tackling Substance Use Among Youth, presented by the the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, his Excellency Hon. Prof. Paul Mavima as the Chair of the Inter-Ministerial Committee. Simultaneously to the operationalization of the Zimbabwe National Drug Master Plan, a Technical Working Group (TWG) on drug and substance abuse will be established as an information platform for interaction between arms of Government and relevant stakeholders.
The event also follows the success of a policy roundtable discussion on alternatives to incarceration in response to drug-related offences that UNITE has organised in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drugs Network in June 2021, which was well attended by Zimbabwean Parliamentarians and sparked a lively debate.
The workshop aimed at providing a further platform for Ministers and Honorable Members of Parliament to exchange views and reflect on the current efforts undertaken to implement responses tailored to the needs of the population of Zimbabwe and consistent with practices implemented in the region and globally; while building a bridge between civil society, academia, and policymakers in order to further advance an evidence-based debate on effective drug policy interventions.
UNITE Global Parliamentarians Network to End Infectious Diseases
Rebeca Marques Rocha, Policy Officer: email@example.com
Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network
Wilson Box, Chief Executive Officer – firstname.lastname@example.org