Among the many notable events happening in and around Harm Reduction 2009: Harm Reduction International’s 20th International Conference in Bangkok were the highly publicised keynote speeches by Professor Michel Kazatchkine (Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria) and Craig McClure (Executive Director of the International AIDS Society). Both speeches were highly motivating, moving, passionate and visionary – and each received a standing ovation from delegates. To permanently record these two excellent orations, Harm Reduction International has combined them into a new publication entitled ‘From Evidence to Action: Reflections on the Global Politics of Harm Reduction and HIV’.
Both speeches were articulate calls from senior international policy makers for increased global attention to harm reduction, increased funding for harm reduction interventions, and increased respect for the human rights of people who use drugs. Both speakers also questioned the logic of drug prohibition and noted the multiple ways in which the ongoing criminalisation of drugs results in human rights abuses and the spread of HIV. By formally publishing the text from both of these speeches, Harm Reduction International hopes to make them accessible for harm reduction advocates around the world. The report can be widely quoted and referenced, and will be of interest to a range of audiences in the drugs field.