The International Overdose Day marked around SEE

On the occasion of the International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), DPNSEE issued a press release underlining the importance of awareness and fighting stigma on overdose and presenting data about the issue worldwide and especially in Serbia. The release was published by the national Press agency Tanjug and several other media and portals.

The press release is downloadable following this link>>>

In Montenegro, NGO Juventas also issued a press release (supported by the NGO 4 Life) and held a press conference where Marija Mijović, coordinator of Programme of direct assistance to the people in risk of social exclusion presented situation in the country. A movie “Overdose”, directed by Mladen Vujović, outreach worker at the Drop-in Centre of NGO Juventas, Montenegro in cooperation with the Hungarian Drug reporters, was screened at the Green Montenegro International Film Festval.

Our colleagues from the Romanian Harm Reduction Network created a special video for this year’s IOAD campaign. Have a look at “Voices of the drug users. Episode 1”

Association AREAL and AREALTRIBE group from Slovenia organized a workshop dedicated to the International overdose awareness day on 1 September 2019 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Participants were educated how to respond if an individual finds himself or herself in that position.

Our colleagues from the Healthy Options Skopje (HOPS) promoted widely their webpages related to overdose and drugs

Thousands of people die each year from drug overdose and the fact is, overdose is an increasing global problem. Spreading the message that the tragedy of overdose and injury is preventable, International Overdose Awareness Day raise awareness of overdose and reduces the stigma associated with the drug-related death. Also, the day of awareness is providing support to families and loved ones of overdose victims, so that no one is forgotten.

Time to remember – time to act.

Regional training for the ARYSE Advocacy Network

Within the project “Strengthening young people at risk of social exclusion“, a regional training of the ARYSE (At-Risk Youth Social Empowerment) Network for advocacy for the promotion of children and young people at risk was held from 5 to 7 July in Bar, Montenegro.

The project is being implemented in six countries from the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo*, Northern Macedonia and Serbia) and aims to contribute to the social inclusion of the larger part of the young people at risk at the regional level, by strengthening the capacities of civil society organizations, regional/national cooperation and advocacy activities.

This training was intended for representatives of the implementing organizations and representatives of the national working groups established within the project. The idea of ​​the training was that the members of the working group and representatives of the organizations form a regional advocacy body which will continue to function after the completion of the project.

During the training, the participants worked to develop a common platform on which they would base their future work on young people at risk. During the training, the participants worked to develop an advocacy plan for all target groups covered by the project: Street youth, Youth who use drugs, Youth in conflict with law, Youth without parental care, Young Roma and Youth from families with history of drug use and/or conflict with law.

The regional body would aim to continue to promote the results of the ARYSE project and to advocate for appropriate guidance created through this project. In addition, the regional body would continuously work on the exchange of information and good practices and the improvement of policies related to young people at risk and the availability of the services designed for them.

The project is implemented by the NGO Juventas (Montenegro), the Association “Prevent” (Serbia), the Association Margina (BiH), ARSIS (Albania), HOPS (Macedonia), Labyrinth (Kosovo) and the Foundation CHL (Germany).

The network of the mentioned organizations that implements activities are aimed at contributing to active participation in the social and social processes of young people from the Western Balkan countries who are at the highest risk of social exclusion.

The Trust Team established in Montenegro

One of the goals and tasks of the Strategy for Improving the Quality of Life of the LGBT Community in Montenegro, adopted in 2013, was the creation of a Trust Team consisting of members of the Police Administration and the LGBT community. The main tasks of the team include timely and constructive communication between the LGBT community and the Police Administration, constant monitoring of LGBT people’s safety, finding the best models to address their problems, monitoring the development of a contact network of the police officers working with LGBT community, supporting all activities related to police capacity reinforcement and cooperation with international partners monitoring the LGBT inclusion process.

The new team, formed by the decision of the Minister of the Interior, held its first meeting on 1 July 2019. The Team consists of officers of the Police Directorate, the Ministry of Interior and representatives of non-governmental organizations dealing with the protection of LGBTI persons – LGBT Forum Progress, LGBTIQ Social Centre, Juventas, Queer Montenegro and SPECTRA.

The team noted that non-governmental organizations dealing with the protection of LGBTI rights and the Police Directorate have a continuing quality cooperation and that Tim will ensure that the cooperation in the future period is further enhanced. The previous Action plan needs to be innovated in order to make the activities of the Team more concrete, which will further contribute to continuous monitoring of the issues of LGBTI security, confidence building and solving specific cases of relevance to the LGBTI community.

Great activities in Montenegro for the “Support. Don’t Punish“ campaign

NGO Juventas coordinated activities of the “Support. Don’t Punish“ campaign in 2019 together with several other partner organisations from Montenegro. The campaign was focused on raising awareness about human rights of people who use drugs.

The campaign started on 17 June when a short video material was created, continued with social media and television campaign, open space events and lasted until 5 July with photography exhibition in the local gallery.

The video material, with supportive messages from people in institutions and CSO’s who support our work with people who use drugs, was created, with the support of  Institute for public Health, Medical Centre, NGO Cazas and Juventas Drop-in Centre for people who use and inject drugs.

#STV #Podrži #NeKažnjavaj

?Bez podrške osobama koje koriste droge, samo komplikujemo već tešku situaciju u kojoj se oni nalaze. Danas je droga lako dostupna, pa se borimo da se smanji ponuda, ali se isto tako borimo za kvalitet života svake osobe, koja je pogođena bolestima zavisnosti. #STV #Podrži #NeKažnjavaj ?

Gepostet von Nvo Juventas am Mittwoch, 26. Juni 2019

In Njegošev park, in the city centre of Podgorica, photographs were made for the exhibition, along with colleagues who work in Drop-in centre for people who use drugs, Juventas, NGO Link and clients who wanted to be part of exhibition.

“Stigma towards persons facing diseases of dependency is somewhat reduced, but still exists and it is important to take adequate steps compared to support, reducing damage caused by drug use and empower a person to deal with the dependency problem. It is assessed by the program of direct assistance for persons at risk of social exclusion in Juventas”, emphasized Marija Mijović, visiting national TV show Jutarnji program Dobro Jutro Crna Goro on the occasion of marking the global initiative.  The video material was presented during the program.

The exhibition of the photographs done by local activist was posted at the independence square in Podgorica, where campaign promotional materials were distributed and photo boot was set for people to take photos …

The photos taken during the campaign by professional photographer Marija Jovanović were exposed in the Concept Art Space gallery for a week.

You can see more photos following this link>>>

Hotspots of organized crime in the Western Balkans

A new report by Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime has identified locations in these countries that are hotspots for organised crime.

Rather than focusing on illicit markets, flows of commodities or particular criminal groups, this report looks at places of interest: hotspots of organized crime in the Western Balkans. It looks at the characteristics of these hotspots, then provides a granular analysis of particular border crossings, intersections or regions of vulnerability. What makes these places particularly vulnerable? Why are they attractive to criminals? After discussing these questions, the report connects the dots between these locations to identify possible links and patterns that tell us more about the geography of crime in the region.

Regional illicit flows

To contextualize these organized-crime hotspots, the report provides an overview of the current situation in the Western Balkans, as well as some general information on the main illicit flows. It then looks at hotspots close to border or (internal) boundary crossings.

The other main section of the report focuses on major intersections of organized crime in the Western Balkans – mostly bigger cities (particularly capitals), coastal towns and places where major highways intersect. Maps are provided to show the hotspots as well as key traffic arteries. Amid these assessments, the report takes a deeper dive into vulnerable locations, such as Sarajevo, three ports along the Montenegrin coast, northern Kosovo as well as the triangular region where North Macedonia meets south Serbia and Kosovo.

One key observation of this report, which is important to highlight upfront, is that illicit flows through ports, cities and border crossings in the Western Balkans are enabled by a political economy of crime that is deeply entrenched in most countries of the region. The report therefore takes a look at the ecosystem of crime that creates an environment in which illicit activity can flourish. It concludes with a prognosis of potential future hotspots of crime.

The report is available in EnglishAlbanianBosnian and Macedonian

Youth Studies South East Europe

The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) published reports on the experiences and aspirations of youth in Southeast Europe. The FES carried out a representative region-wide survey on a sample of more than 10.000 young people aged 14 – 29 from ten countries in Southeast Europe in early 2018.

“FES Youth Studies Southeast Europe 2018/2019” is an international youth research project carried out simultaneously in ten countries in Southeast Europe: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo*, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. The main objective of the surveys has been to identify, describe and analyse attitudes of young people and patterns of behaviour in contemporary society.

A broad range of issues were addressed, including young peoples’ experiences and aspirations in different realms of life, such as education, employment, political participation, family relationships, leisure and use of information and communications technology, but also their values, attitudes and beliefs.

Findings are presented in ten national and one regional study and its accompanying policy papers, which have been published in both English and the respective national languages.

The most important results are grouped under headlines:

  • A wish to belong to Europe
  • Migration and mobility do not have to be zero-sum
  • Fighting corruption as a crime, not as a concept
  • Employment discourse shifting towards the quality of work
  • A different kind of ‘political’…
  • …which has to do with ‘the social’
  • Give youth a say in Europeanisation

To download the regional study and its accompanying policy papers following this link>>>

You can read the national studies at this webpage.

#SoS_project launched

Alliance for Public Health, leading a regional consortium uniting Network of People living with HIV/AIDS 100% Life, Central-Asian PLH Association and Eurasian Key Populations Health Network (EKHN), manages the multi-country project ‘Sustainability of services for key populations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia region’, funded by the Global Fund in amount up to USD 13 million. The project will be implemented throughout 2019-2021 and aims to reduce the HIV epidemic in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia and South East Europe regions through accelerating progress on Fast-Track by 2020 and to ensure the sustainability of HIV services for key populations in 14 countries of the regions: Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

The project launch meeting was held on 26 March 2019 in Kyiv, Ukraine. It gathered all implementing partners, regional and global stakeholders, donors active in the region to discuss the program approaches and plans, get strategies advise and coordinate with other regional initiatives to maximize impact of investment.

At the project coordination meeting on 27 March all regional consortium members, project sub-recipients, implementing and technical partners in the region to discuss and coordinate the concrete plans and timelines for project activities among the implementers.

To achieve the expected savings, the project will develop strategies for optimizing the cost of ART regimens, which will lead to a decrease in the average cost of first-line ART. Advocacy activities will also be carried out aimed at reducing prices for ARVs and using savings to finance the needs of prevention and care services for the Key Groups and PLHIV. In addition, work to optimize clinical guidelines for ART, a list of drugs in accordance with WHO guidelines is planned, as well as advocacy to include countries in voluntary licensing and registration of generic manufacturers.

Andriy Klepikov, the Executive Director of the Alliance for Public Health, said that almost half of these funds ($ 5.6 million) will go to the advocacy of the reduction of prices for ARV drugs and optimization of procurement mechanisms.  Another quarter of the project budget ($ 3.2 million) is planned for budget advocacy. $ 1.6 million is provided for the removal of legal barriers, the same amount for project management. Another $ 1 million will go to operational research.

“The idea is not only to throw in some initiatives, but simultaneously with such interventions to launch operational research, which will help identify and prove their effectiveness,” explained Klepikov. – “It worked, in particular, in Ukraine. But we would not want other countries to take it on faith. In each country for advocacy, before the Ministry of Health will start funding, it is important to get a serious evidence base, which is collected through operational research”.

DPNSEE member organisations Cazas and Timok Youth Centre will be sub-recipients of the project in Montenegro and Serbia, while HOPS is involved in project implementation in North Macedonia.

Global Fund eligibility list 2019

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has recently published its updated country eligibility list for 2019. The list reflects the eligibility determinations for the year 2019 (a non-allocation year) and is for information purposes only. Allocations are made once every three years following the outcomes of the Global Fund’s replenishment The 2020 Eligibility List will determine which country components are eligible for an allocation for the 2020-2022 allocation period.

SEE countries affected by changes are Bulgaria, Kosovo*, North Macedonia and Romania. Montenegro and Serbia remain eligible for HIV disease component due to high disease burden.

Bulgaria and Romania may be eligible for an allocation for HIV/AIDS for non-governmental or civil society organizations if there are demonstrated barriers to providing funding for interventions for key populations, as supported by the country’s epidemiology for the 2020-2022 allocation period.

Kosovo is newly classified as an Upper-Middle Income country based on the latest three-year average of GNI per capita data. As Kosovo’s HIV/AIDS and TB burden are ‘Not High’, both the HIV/AIDS and TB components are now eligible for Transition Funding for the 20202022 allocation period.

North Macedonia‘s HIV/AIDS disease burden classification changed to ‘Low’ in 2018 to ‘High’ in the 2019 Eligibility List, resulting in one determination of eligibility. Country components must be eligible for two consecutive eligibility determinations to be classified as eligible on the Eligibility List.

According to the GF Eligibility Policy “Upper-middle income countries meeting the disease burden criteria, but some may be eligible for an allocation for HIV/AIDS to directly finance non-governmental and civil society organizations, if there are demonstrated barriers to providing funding for interventions for key populations, as supported by the country’s epidemiology. Eligibility for funding under this provision will be assessed by the Secretariat as part of the decision-making process for allocations. As part of its assessment, the Secretariat, in consultation with UN and other partners as appropriate, will look at the overall human rights environment of the context with respect to key populations and specifically whether there are laws or policies which influence practices and seriously limit and/or restrict the provision of evidence-informed interventions for such populations”.

To read full document with the eligibility list follow this link>>>>

The need for an organized system for drug policy in Montenegro

Within the framework of the project ARYSE (At-Risk Youth Social Empowerment), funded by the European Union through the European Commission, NGO Juventas organised the round table „Young people who use drugs in Montenegro“ on 12 November 2018 in Podgorica. The hosts emphasised that there is no systematic commitment in solving the problem of dependence on psychoactive substances in Montenegro and that clarifying the government responsibility is very important. Improving support programs, developing preventive work, in order to help young people who use drugs, must be in coordination with many institutions.

The speakers at the round table were: Marija Milić, Coordinator of the Programme of direct assistance for people who use drugs, NVO Juventas, Milutin Milošević, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Network South East Europe, Ivana Vujović, Executive Director of NGO Juventas, Nebojša Kavarić, Director of the Health Centre in Podgorica, Dr Ljiljana Golubović, the Public Health Institute representative and psychologist, Dijana Milošević, representative of the Institution for Resocialization and Rehabilitation of Drug Addicts Kakaricka gora.

The representatives of local communities from Nikšić, Podgorica, Budva, Bijelo polje, Tivat and Kolašin also took part in the discussion.

It was pointed out that cooperation with official institutions is at an unsatisfactory level. Also, the discussion conclude that there is no systematic plan for dependence on psychoactive substances problem.

The Executive Director of DPNSEE Milutin Milošević gave introductory presentation about models and standards of prevention of psychoactive substances use in Europe and presented concrete examples of drug policy approaches in Croatia, Spain, The Netherlands, Serbia, Sweden and Turkey.

ARYSE project also includes the partner organizations: ARSIS (Albania), Association Margina (Bosnia Herzegovina), HOPS (Macedonia), Labirint (Kosovo), Prevent (Serbia) and Foundation SHL (Germany).
At-Risk Youth Social Emprovement open table

Montenegro closed the circle

The training for civil society organisations in Montenegro was the third in raw, to complete the serial of trainings organised in the project countries. It was held in Podgorica from 3 to 5 October 2018.

More info coming soon!

Media coverage from the PR Centre is available following this link>>>