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September 2, 1999

Anti-Drug Evaluation Tool Ready for Final Approval


OTTAWA, Canada – Delegates from 34 countries today completed work on a comprehensive evaluation tool to measure the hemisphere’s drug-fighting efforts. The Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism, as it is known, will be presented to the nations’ top drug-policy coordinators for approval next month.

"The momentum is strong, and so is the political will at the highest level throughout the hemisphere to move to a new level in coordinated action against illicit drugs, based on a new relationship,""said Canada’s Deputy Solicitor General, Jean T. Fournier. He chairs the intergovernmental working group that has been meeting here for the last three days.

The OAS Inter-American Drug Control Commission (known by its Spanish acronym, CICAD), which will meet in Montevideo, Uruguay on October 5-7, must approve the agreement before a testing phase can begin. The goal is to have a fully functional evaluation mechanism in place by the next Summit of the Americas, which will take place in Quebec City, Canada, in 2001.

The Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism will measure national and regional progress in addressing all aspects of the drug problem, including production, trafficking and consumption. It will use several dozen indicators, or benchmarks, to assess a wide range of anti-drug efforts in four main areas: national drug plans and strategies; prevention and treatment; reduction in drug production; and improved law enforcement.

"There will be one set of rules for all, which gets us away from finger-pointing and unilateralism and conflict and recriminations and punishment and sanctions," Fournier said at a news conference after the meeting ended.

He stressed that the Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism, which stems from a mandate issued by the hemisphere’s leaders at the 1998 Summit of the Americas, has the firm commitment of all 34 active OAS member nations.

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