From 6 to 8 July, representatives of the organizations, that are members of the informal Drug Policy Network in South East Europe met in Novi Sad (Serbia) to discuss about establishing an umbrella organization with a legal status, building on the informally established Drug Policy Network.
The meeting started with a presentation by Ilina Nesik, representative of the Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN) informing the meeting about the experience of the BCSDN in its development since 2001. The Balkan Civil Society Development network is a regional sectoral network consisting of 15 member organizations, from 10 different countries of the Balkan region. It started, in the first phase, as a 3-year pilot programme (2001-2003) functioned in the second phase (2003-2008) as an informal Network and became a formalized network in the third phase (2008-2011). Ilina Nesik referred to the vision and mission of the organization, the strategic goals, the membership (eligibility criteria and the procedure to become a member) as well as the initiatives/activities of the organization. Special reference was made to the monitoring Matrix, a unique tool for monitoring the enabling environment for civil society development. During the discussion that followed the presentation, several questions have been raised about the membership especially concerning the distinction between consultative and member status, the governance, management and organization structure and the independent status of the organization.
This presentation has been followed by an introduction by Thanasis Apostolou, who outlined the development of Drug Policy Network in South East Europe and presented the project to create the umbrella organization with a legal status. Consequently, the meeting decided about the name of the new organization, which remained Drug Policy Network in South East Europe. The meeting decided to establish an independent organization, not linked to one of the existing Network’s organizations. The location of the umbrella organization will be the city of Skopje. The meeting decided to meet again on 31 of August to 3 September in Belgrade. Every organization of the Network will be represented in Belgrade by one person. The Belgrade meeting will be the constituent assembly of the new umbrella organization.