Consultancy to review HIV landscape and opportunities in South Eastern Europe and the Baltic States

The Elton John AIDS Foundation is seeking a consultant to conduct a review of HIV-related systems, programming and opportunities in South Eastern Europe and the Baltic States to help maximise the impact of the Foundation’s grant investments in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) region.

The consultant will support the Foundation, as one of the largest philanthropic donors for HIV related programming in EECA, in its objective to help end the AIDS epidemic in the region.

The consultant will:

  • Analyse the landscape of governmental and non-governmental systems and programming related to HIV prevention, treatment and care, and harm reduction activities for people who use drugs, sex workers and LGBT people on the regional level and in the following countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia.
  • Identify strategies and opportunities to achieve sustainable progress on HIV prevention and care, harm reduction and stigma outcomes for people who use drugs, sex workers and LGBT people in the South Eastern Europe and Baltic regions. Recommended strategies and opportunities for programming and advocacy should consider potential value-add of Elton John AIDS Foundation investment and feasibility.

Applications will be welcomed until 11 March2021 at 16:00 GMT.

More information is available following this link>>>.

 

Drugs to be regulated around Europe

This year started with a few interesting news about actions to regulate drugs. Here is a glimpse from the news from three European Union countries.

Icelandic Government Proposes Drug Decriminalisation

In the second part of January, the Icelandic government has proposed the decriminalisation of drugs for personal use by adults and launched a consultation exercise to gauge public opinion on the matter. The public consultation is open until 31 January.

The initiative, led by Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir, is intended as a harm-prevention measure. It includes the provision of additional resources to support users, with particular focus on more marginalised members of society.

This new approach is based on regarding users as patients rather than criminals and follows the minister’s successful introduction last year of a bill to provide safe spaces for drug injection.

The original article is available following this link>>>.

Malta will allow users to grow cannabis plants for personal use

Prime Minister on Malta Robert Abela, on 18 February when speaking to journalists, announced that cannabis users should not go to jail and will be able to grow a limited amount of plants as he fleshes out some aspects of government’s proposed reform. Abela said Cabinet will shortly be discussing a White Paper that will be published for public consultation. The reform is being piloted by Reforms Parliamentary Secretary Rosianne Cutajar.

He said the reform will end police arrests for people caught in possession of a small amount of cannabis and hinted that the current limit of 3.5g allowed at law would increase.

It was a Labour Party electoral pledge to initiate a discussion on the legalisation of cannabis but so far, no formal proposals have been put forward despite ongoing consultations.

The original article is available following this link>>>.

Norway to Decriminalize Personal Drug Use in ‘Historic’ Shift

Norway plans to decriminalize the personal use of illegal drugs in small quantities, citing recommendations from the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

The Nordic country will abolish criminal liability “for the use of drugs and the acquisition and possession of a small amount of drugs for own use,” according to legal proposals by the health-care ministry to lawmakers, published on Friday. The acts will be illegal, but not punishable.

Norway, along with its Nordic neighbours, has some of Europe’s highest drug-induced mortality rates. In contrast, the region’s welfare systems rank among the best globally. Norway had 66 cases of drug-related deaths per million adults in 2017, compared with an average of 23.7 for the European Union, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

The police will confiscate the below-threshold drugs found on any person, who will then be ordered to appear at a municipal advisory unit.

The original article is available following this link>>>.

 

No risk, no borders for young people

Photos: Project EUINFONET

DPNSEE was one of 4 organisations from Serbia which signed the contract with the (RYCO) for implementation of projects in scope of the 4th Open CallA Better Region Starts with Youth”. The Call is financially supported by the European Union. The Contracting Meeting was held on 23 February 2021 in the Human Rights House (Kuća ljudskih prava), in Belgrade.

During the signing ceremony, the welcoming remarks were delivered by the Head of Information, Communication and Press at the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia Mr Paul-Henri Presset, the Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Serbia Ms Marija Bulat, Youth Representative in the RYCO Governing Board Mr Marko Kostić and the Assistant Minister for International Cooperation in the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Serbia Mr Uroš Pribićević.

Other three projects supported will be implemented by Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina, Red Cross of Vojvodina and Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia.

The selected projects will enable development of youth-led processes of intercultural dialogue and reconciliation in the Western Balkans, and the development of social capital among young people by strengthening the competences of young people and those who work with them.

Moreover, the projects are important for furthering implementation capacities of CSOs using a learning-by-doing approach, with special focus on increasing capacities to adapt and remain operational during COVID-19 pandemic situations and imposed safety measures. The supported projects standout as creative and innovative proposals, including online components or online focus.

The DPNSEE project “No Risk, no borders for young people” will strive to contribute to the efforts of the reconciliation processes in the WB countries and stronger youth participation in CSOs by developing and supporting regional youth cooperation focused on youth at risk, as its desirable overall impact/change.

It will be implemented in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia in partnership with our member organisations Aksion Plus, Margina, Juventas, Prevent and Re Generation.

The video from the signing ceremony is available at the Youtube channel of the EU delegation in Serbia

 

Call for CSFD members

European Commission has opened the Call for applications for members of its expert group the Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSFD). As the membership of the Group will be completely renewed for 2021-2023, the Commission is calling for applications with a view to selecting members of the group.

The Forum membership comprises 45 civil society organisations coming from across Europe and representing a variety of fields of drug policy, and a variety of stances within those fields.  Its purpose is to provide a broad platform for a structured dialogue between the Commission and the European civil society which supports drug policy formulation and implementation through practical advice.

Members shall be organisations in the broad sense of the word, including associations, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), trade unions, universities and research institutes, and other organisations, if relevant to EU drugs policy, and individuals appointed in a personal capacity.

The Call is available following this link>>>.

 

Drug policy evaluation models presented

DPNSEE and Trimbos Institute hosted the Webinar “Drug Policy evaluations: opportunities to support inclusive, effective and evidence-based public policy” on Wednesday 10 February 2021. The aim of the Webinar was to provide information on drug policy evaluation as an effective instrument to guide, manage and support effective policies and services.

The Webinar included an introduction on drug policy evaluations and presentations on approach and methods and experiences from the evaluations performed in Croatia and Cyprus. Discussions in three separate discussion rooms followed on different segments of a policy/strategy cycle.

More than 90 representatives of governmental organisations, both on national and local level, academia, civil society organisations, coming from 31 countries, and international organisations participated.

The presentations from the Conference are ready to download:

  • Introduction to drug policy evaluation: Liesbeth Vandam, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction following this link>>>
  • Drug Policy evaluations: approach and methods: John-Peter Kools, Trimbos Institute following this link>>>
  • Drugs policy evaluation – experience and benefits: Sanja Mikulić, Head, Service for combating drugs abuse, Croatian Institute of Public Health, Croatia following this link>>>
  • Online opportunities: Daan van der Gouwe, Trimbos Institute following this link>>>
  • Experiences from online/hybrid evaluation: Chrysantos Georgiou, Cyprus following this link>>>.

 

New Global Fund’s Technical Assistance Program

From the EECA Regional Platform established by the Global Fund

The Global Fund’s Community, Rights and Gender (CRG) Technical Assistance (TA) Program started it’s new phase of the implementation as a part of the Global Fund’s CRG Strategic Initiative.

You may find all relevant information about this short-term technical assistance program available at the new page at the Global Fund’s website following this link>>>.

Please, be informed that the CRG Department updated the list of CRG technical assistance providers for the 2021-2023 implementation period. Also, new CRG TA Request Form is available (the old one is not applicable anymore) as well as an example of the High-quality TA Request.

The CRG technical assistance is available in 3 main areas of work:

  • Situational analysis and needs assessments
  • Country dialogue
  • Supporting design and implementation arrangements.

For more details please see the CRG Technical Assistance Guidance Note.

CRG Technical Assistance does NOT support:

  • CCM strengthening (e.g. training of CCM members in their roles and responsibilities);
  • Long-term capacity development of civil society networks and organizations (e.g. organizational development, support to become a Global Fund recipient);
  • Development of stand-alone tools that lack a focus on community engagement;
  • Funding request writing.

The short-term nature of technical assistance foresees that community experts can be deployed for approximately 30 days over a period of up to three months.

Also, if you have any questions regarding the CRG TA Program or you need any assistance with development of the request – please feel free to contact Ivan Varentsov at ivan@harmreductioneurasia.org as the coordinator of the EECA Regional Platform for Communication and Coordination supported by the Global Fund.

 

Cannabis – narcotic drug or/and medicine

As part of the Serbian Visions Multicongress, organised by the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce (AHK) from 1 to 5 February 2021, DPNSEE will hosted an online discussion “Cannabis – narcotic drug or/and medicine” on Friday 5 February.

Despite a very unfavourable time (Friday evening), 18 participants from Serbia, Croatia, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovenia joined. Most of them were from civil society organisations, but also we had those from the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of Serbia and the Institute for Public Health in Serbia.

List of speakers included:

  • Milutin Milošević, DPNSEE
  • Nebojša Đurasović, Prevent, Serbia
  • Vlatko Dekov, HOPS, North Macedonia
  • Tomaž Koren, konoplja.org, Slovenia

The discussion was led around three main topics: how to regulate cannabis, medical value of cannabis (in the light of the new decision of the UN Committee on Drugs and Narcotics) and the latest developments in the region. Participants actively contributed with their positions and questions.

Recording of the discussion is available at the Serbian Visions Youtube channel.

 

Webinar on Drug Policy Evaluations

The Drug Policy Network South East Europe and Trimbos Institute invite you to participate in the webinar that will provide information on drug policy evaluation as an effective instrument to guide, manage and support effective policies and services. The Webinar is supported by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction and the European Civil Society Forum on Drugs.

The Webinar will present an insight on how various actors can contribute to a process of monitoring and evaluation of drug policies and can benefit from. It will:

  • showcase the benefits of drug policy evaluations
  • provide examples of recent regional drug policy (e.g. Croatia, Cyprus)
  • provide opportunities of online evaluations

The webinar may serve as a source of inspiration to support all those involved process of building better drug policies. It is especially suitable for regional drug policy makers, regional civil society groups, European and other interested participants.

The Plenary introductions will include:

  • Introduction on drug policy evaluations
  • Drug Policy evaluations: approach and methods
  • Benefits from independent evaluation
  • Online opportunities
  • Experiences from online/hybrid evaluation.

Three parallel breakout sessions will follow on What is needed to prepare a national drug policy?, How to monitor progress? and How to learn from and improve policies?

The Webinar will be held via Zoom at the following link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86598224178 on Wednesday 10 February 2021 starting at 14:00 CET. The Webinar will last for 120 minutes.

As the number of participants is limited, please register by Monday 8 February using the form attached here>>>.

 

DPNSEE again at the Serbia Visions multicongress

As part of the Serbia Visions Multicongress, organised by the German-Serbian Chamber of Commerce from 1 to 5 February 2021, DPNSEE will organise online discussion “Cannabis – narcotic drug or/and medicine“.

The discussion will be held in Serbian via Microsoft Teams application on Friday 5 February from 20:00 to 21:30 PM. You may join the event following this link>>>.

List of speakers include:

  • Milutin Milošević, DPNSEE
  • Nebojša Đurasović, Prevent, Serbia
  • Vlatko Dekov, HOPS, North Macedonia
  • Tomaž Koren, konoplja.org, Slovenia

Programme of the event is as follows