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Statement by Iceland in the exchange of views with Mr Joao Goulao, President of the Pompidou Group

Council of Europe, Committee of Ministers, 1417th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies. Statement delivered by Sandra Lyngdorf.

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and welcome to Mr. Goulao.

We add our voice to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Pompidou Group and to 50 years of drug policy cooperation developing effective drug policies that respect human rights. We also congratulate the recipients of the Pompidou Group’s 2021 European Drug Prevention Prize.

Mr. President,

We very much welcome the emphasis of the Pompidou Group on effective, evidence-based drug policies, which fully respect human rights.

This approach has been very successful in Iceland. To respond to one of the highest rates of youth alcohol and drug use in Europe, a new model was adopted in the mid-1990s. The Icelandic Model is a theoretically grounded, evidence-based approach to community adolescent substance use prevention that has grown out of a collaboration between policy makers, behavioral scientists, field-based practitioners, and community residents.

The model aims to reduce known risk factors for substance use by creating opportunities for children and youth to fill their time in a positive and constructive way through effective collaboration between parents, teachers, youth centers, sports clubs, and other actors in the proximity of children and youth.

Since the adoption of the model, we have seen a significant reduction in alcohol and drug use by youth in Iceland. We make this example to underline the importance of drug policy cooperation and the work of the Pompidou Group and to highlight the positive impact of effective drug policies with human rights at the heart.

We are convinced that the revised Statute and the extension of the Group’s mandate will help shape the Group’s future as the key international reference point for human rights in drug policies.

I thank you.

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