The Pompidou Group promotes a human rights-based approach to drug policy encompassing all areas, from drug policy development through implementation and monitoring to evaluation. It provides assistance to national authorities in identifying and embracing timely responses to contentions about human rights in drug policy, as well as in assessing the intended and unintended effects of envisaged drug policy measures, taking into account potential impact on the enjoyment of human rights. Recognising the paramount role of civil society in upholding human rights, the Pompidou Group offers guidance and tools to decision makers, in order to develop practical and meaningful ways for government and civil society co-operation in the field of drug policy.

Bringing Human Rights to the forefront of drug policy

There is a need to have processes in place for on-going assessment to ensure that human rights are and remain respected and safeguarded. Policy makers, policy implementers and policy evaluators must be aware and mindful of the human rights dimension that should inspire their choices and decisions. The Pompidou Group stresses this need in its 2017 statement on bringing human rights into drug policy. The statement confirms the member states’ categorical opposition to the death penalty and condemns extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detention and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Member states also express their commitment to good democratic governance principles and to reducing the stigma of drug users, and acknowledge indicators that can be relied upon when conducting a human rights-based review of drug policy. This commitment is reaffirmed in the 'Stavanger Declaration' adopted at the 2018 Ministerial Conference of the Pompidou Group. 


Assessing costs and unintended consequences of drug control policies

All policies, including drug policies, regardless of purpose or intention, come with costs in the form of public spending and with a risk of unintended consequences. Improved estimates of public spending and information and awareness of unintended consequences will help policymakers plan relevant interventions and allocate necessary funds to authorities in charge of policy implementation. In this context, the Pompidou Group aims to raise awareness about the importance of assessing costs and unintended consequences of drug control policies, and the necessity of harmonising definitions as well as increasing availability, comparability and reliability of data and methods for estimates. As a next step the Pompidou Group intends to embark on developing sound estimation practices to obtain accurate, complete and reliable drug policy evaluations.


Interacting with civil society on drug policy issues

Engagement of civil society organisations and participation in the policy planning and implementation process underlines the complementary relationship between civil society and the institutions of representative democracy. Civil society organisations bring knowledge and independent expertise to the process of decision making. This has led governments at all levels as well as international institutions to draw on the relevant experience and competence of NGOs to assist in policy development and implementation, including the area of drug policy. In this regard, the Pompidou Group policy paper on interaction between government and civil society organisations provides guidance and tools to decision makers and policy managers to develop practical and meaningful ways for co-operation in the field of drug policy, for a meaningful civil society participation in all stages of policy making.

 Pompidou Group



 Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law