Planning for the future

Following the proposal from the General Assembly held in last December, Drug Policy Network South East Europe held a Strategic Workshop from 14 to 17 May 2019. The workshop was held in the Student Resort on Avala Mountain, nearby Belgrade.

At the Assembly, DPNSEE has analysed achievement of aims and objectives of the strategic plan adopted in 2016 and indicated in which way and by which activities the priorities will be followed in the next years. Now, the aim of the Workshop was to continue this process and define DPNSEE strategic priorities, goals and targets for the forthcoming period.

Representatives of all member organisations were invited to participate in the Workshop. 21 participants from 9 countries of the region gathered for a three-day workshop and worked in cooperation. The consultant which helped us to design the Workshop, facilitate work and structure the outcomes was Raminta Štuikyte.

In preparations for the Workshop, DPNSEE member organisations were invited to fill in a survey to present their situation and needs. In addition, a survey was offered to a variety of partners, from national drug agencies to regional and international organisations, to help us understand better the situation and trends in a wider context. The feedback was an important input for the Workshop.

Five priority areas were identified (working titles):

  • Optimisation of services
  • Financial sustainability
  • Regulating drugs
  • Human rights
  • Strengthening the network

For each of them, small groups were discussing questions: What kind of changes you want to see? What Network could do? (types of activities, partnerships…) Which are the priority countries for the issue from the region? Which member organisations could take the lead? Which are potential sources of funding? What should we do in the first two years.

Results of the Workshop are being processed and will be offered to all the member organisations for further development. Following the Workshop, we shall continue strategic work so that the new Strategic Plan is adopted at the annual General Assembly planned for the end of 2019.

Building a new HIV Strategy in Serbia

Recent National HIV in Serbia expired in 2015 and since then there were no initiatives to design a new one. Finally, this autumn, with revival of the activities around potential Global Fund project support, the Ministry of Health started a process of building a new HIV Strategy.

The process is quite fast – it started in early November with the deadline for the draft set at the end of 2017. A working group of five people was appointed, including one representative of the civil society. Each of the working group members was leading the process of producing the text in one of the priority areas: 1) Prevention, 2) Medical treatment and support to people living with HIV, 3) Stigma and discrimination, 4) Quality standards and 5) Strategic information.

In each of the subgroups, a dialogue between various stakeholders, governmental, civil society, academia and people living with HIV, was productive in analysing the situation and proposing new aims, measures and activities. DPNSEE and member organisations representatives participated actively in this endeavour. And success was achieved: the final meeting of the expert group, held on 25 December 2017, resulted in producing the final draft of the Strategy and the Action plan 2018 – 2021 for implementing it!

Even though the process short and the task challenging, we hope that the result will lay ground for a comprehensive and effective respond to HIV in Serbia.