Board preparations for the General Assembly

The Board of the Drug Policy Network South East Europe, at meeting the held by Zoom on 8 March 2021, discussed preparations for the annual General Assembly.

The Board decided that the General Assembly will be held via Zoom on Monday 29 March 2021.

The member organisations are invited to send information about their official representatives by Monday 22 March. The registered representatives will get the link to the Assembly and password so that we are able to establish quorum and organise voting.

The Board was informed that the Greek Users Union “Peer Network of Users of Psychoactive Substances – PeerNUPS” has a legal status and that they will request membership in the Network. The Board supported this application and proposes that community organisations don’t have the obligation to pay membership fees for several years until they achieve sustainability.

The Board noted that Ilinka Serdarević submitted her resignation due to personal reasons which prevent her to perform this position in full capacity. The Board thanks Ilinka for her significant contribution to the work of the Network and hopes that she will continue supporting us.

In accordance with the Article 18 of the DPNSEE Statutes, the Board invited member organisations to propose candidates for co-opting. The Board reminds that this article defines that “The composition of the Board shall reflect the entire diversity (geographical, gender, ethnic) of the Network” and warmly welcomes candidatures from countries which currently we don’t have a Board member (Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, North Macedonia and Romania). The Board strongly supports and invites women and representatives of the community of people who use drugs to apply.

The Board was informed that DPNSEE signed the contract with the Regional Youth Cooperation Office on 23 February for implementation of the project No risk, no borders for young people. The first activities of the project already started, including a consultative meeting of the project partners, the call for logo and visual identity is already open, scheduling workshops and the first planning meeting of the project team.

The Board also discussed the process of finalising the agreement with the EU TACSO 3 to get support for Adjusting the DPNSEE Strategy to the new reality caused by the coronavirus pandemic and designing the Public Relations and Communication Strategy and communication with several partners on potentials for preparing a project proposal for the Supporting Initiatives in the field of drugs policy – a big call from EU, aimed for strategic, long term projects related to drug policy.

The Board concluded that we DPNSEE is not invited to participate in preparations of the multi-country project to the Global Fund. The Board finds this process as not fully transparent and based on a comprehensive evaluation of needs of our region and deprives some countries of South East Europe.


First Board meeting in 2021

The DPNSEE Board held its first meeting in 2021 on Tuesday 12 January. The Agenda of the meeting included DPNSEE Reports for 2020, Membership organisations situation, Current projects and Plans for 2021.

The Board adopted draft versions of the narrative and financial report for 2020. A decision was taken that the General Assembly will be called for early March so that the annual financial statement would then be presented along with these draft documents for adoption by the member organisations.

The Board discussed situation with member organisations, including about two of them which stopped working, membership fee payments and member organisations participation in Network’s activities.

Information that our project proposal is currently on the Regional Youth Cooperation Office Preliminary List of 12 Best Evaluated Project Proposals was welcomed. We hope that other two applications submitted in 2020 will also be successful, as well as those we plan to develop in the next few months.

The Board decided to hold Consultations on Sustainability of the Network. Aim is to exchange about the way we shall position us in the future so that our profile is improved and clearer for potential partners and donors, our communication is tailored and focused and our sources of funding are diversified.

Participation in the 5th European Harm Reduction Conference, webinar we plan with Trimbos Institute and participation in the Serbian visions multikongres was also discussed.


DPNSEE Board discussed situation in the region

The meeting of the DPNSEE Board was held by Zoom on 13 April 2020. The meeting was scheduled to discuss the current situation related to outbreak of the coronavirus in South East Europe and plan future steps.

Based on the information collected at conference calls with member organisations, the Board concluded that it is time to make some conclusions and decisions about what we can do in the forthcoming period to help member organisations and ensure their sustainability after the current crisis caused by the coronavirus.

The Board also concluded that member organisations and the did a good job reacting in time, providing information to the communities, organising the work of our services in accordance with the situation and protecting our staff and, wherever possible, communicating with state officials and inviting them to protect vulnerable populations. Most of our users behave responsibly, even taking initiative and helping our organisations. The drug market is stable. The problems include lack of opportunity to start the treatment during the epidemic and lack of income to buy essential needs, bit also drugs. In most of the countries, we have problem to ensure enough protective material for our staff. In some countries, state institutions, especially drug agencies/offices, should provide more help to users for methadone distribution, protection of their rights, etc.

The Board decided to call an on-line conference on protection of vulnerable populations in South East Europe for Thursday 23 April. Besides our members and other civil society organisations from the region and wider, we shall invite to the conference national drug agencies and health institutions, international organisations partners and donors.


DPNSEE Board meeting

The Drug Policy Network in South East Europe Board held a regular board meeting in Skopje from 28 to 28 September 2019. All 7 Board members and Executive Director participated.

Significant part of the meeting was dedicated to developing DPNSEE strategic plan. Using the results of the Strategic workshop held in May, the Board worked on the text of a stagey document which will be shared with the member organisations for consultations, to be completed at the General Assembly.

The Board discussed activities held in between the two meetings and projects which are being implemented or planned for the future.

The tentative days for the annual General Assembly are 16 to 18 December 2019. The Assembly will be held in Belgrade.

The Board proposes that all member organisations should re-affirm their acceptance of the DPNSEE Mission and Vision and formally sign it.

The Board discussed and adopted the proposed DPNSEE Travel and Expense Policy and Website privacy policy.

The Board was informed about critical situations of harm reduction services in Bulgaria and Bosnia Herzegovina and discussed potential ways to help member organisations.

Regular DPNSEE Board meeting

The meeting of the Board of the Drug Policy Network South East Europe was held from 25 to 27 February 2019 in DPNSEE Office in Belgrade, Serbia.

The Board adopted minutes from the General Assembly held in December 2018 and Board meeting held by Skype recently this month. The DPNSEE Narrative and Financial report for 2018 were also adopted.

The Board discussed various elements of the DPNSEE Plan for 2019. An important decision is that the Strategic planning workshop will be held from 14 – 17 May. More details about the programme and venue will follow.

To increase visibility of our work and present our experiences and expertise, the Board decided to support participation of DPNSEE representatives in various international events: Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Harm Reduction International Conference and Lisbon Addictions 2019 Conference.

The Board also discussed contacts with member organisations, producing an operational manual, process and criteria for appointing DPNSEE representatives to various events, production of web pages for Glossary and Resource Centre, human rights and discrimination of people who use drugs, opportunities for engaging volunteers, overview of personal expertise, tools for on-line communication, problems with immigrants in Slovenia, accreditation and licencing of HIV prevention services, Regional EECA multi country grant and other issues.

Planning the year ahead

The DPNSEE Board held the first meeting in 2019 on 4 February by Skype. Most of the meeting was dedicated to finalising the DPNSEE operational plan and budget for the year.

The plan was structured under seven headlines:

  • Improving management capacity
  • Advocacy
  • Contacts with the member organizations
  • Human rights
  • Regular (recurring) activities
  • Resource Centre
  • Office and Staff issues

Work of the Network in this year will be supported by an institutional grant from the Open Society Foundations.

The Board also decided to hold an in situ meeting in Belgrade on 25 – 27 February. Following the work at the General Assembly, a strategic workshop to define priorities for the future is planned for 10 – 14 April in Montenegro.

Regular DPNSEE Board meeting

The Drug Policy Network South East Europe Board held a regular meeting in Skopje from 28 February to 2 March 2018. 5 of 7 Board members and Staff participated.

Significant part of the meeting was dedicated to reviewing the results of the work in the previous year and evaluating the growth of the Networks activities and actions on national, regional and the global scene. The Board sees 2017 as a year full of activities with DPNSEE international recognition and improved profile.

At the General Assembly in 2016, DPNSEE made first step in developing DPNSEE strategic plan. Following the discussion at the 2017 General Assembly, Board took steps to continue strategic discussion to identify priorities for the work in 2018 and beyond. Analysis of the DPNSEE Code of Conduct concentrated on the Board dynamics and improving relations with member organisations.

The Operational plan for 2018 includes more actions and activities for the upcoming year: capacity building, resource centre, additional translations of the Glossary of term used in drug policy, documenting cases of discrimination of vulnerable populations and international developments.

The Board accepted the information about the move of the Office and potential restructuring of the Staff.

The DPNSEE Board meeting

The first meeting of the Board of the Drug Policy Network South East Europe was held on 20 and 21 March 2017 in the DPNSEE Office and the Library of the House of Human Rights in Belgrade, Serbia. It was an opportunity for the new start of the Board after the changes in the composition made at the last General Assembly held in November 2016. All the Board members participated, and Staff including two volunteers joined for some parts of the meeting.

The Board adopted the DPNSEE Annual statement, the minutes from the recent General Assembly and the Board meeting and the Report for period December 2016 – March 2017 proposed by the Staff. Board also discussed the Operational plan for 2017 and forthcoming events and activities.

The Board discussed the fundraising strategy, membership fees payments, reimbursement procedures, capacity building (training), volunteers’ work on resource pool and glossary, website, Expert committee and DPNSEE Strategy 2016 – 2019.

The 3rd Board Meeting of Drug Policy Network South East Europe

Στιγμιότυπο 2016-05-16, 12.23.32 μ.μ.

Planning the future
The third Board Meeting of Drug Policy Network South East Europe dedicated to strategic planning took place in the Scout Centre Daljan in Ohrid, FYROM from 24 to 26 of August 2016. A specific introduction to the Board meeting was the meeting of the partners of the project “Strengthening NGO capacity and promoting public health and human rights oriented drug policy in South East Europe”. The partners reported on actions in 2016 and planned future activities of the project, including actions to be taken late this year and possible actions to include in the project plan for 2017.

Discussing Network membership, the Board Meeting proposed for the membership:

·            6 organisations to become the ordinary members of DPNSEE: Aksion Plus, Albania; Cazas, Montenegro; Center for Life, Greece; Juventas, Montenegro; Proi, Bosnia and Hercegovina; and Re Generation, Serbia

·            2 organisations to become the associated members of DPNSEE: ARAS, Romania and Prometheus, Greece.

The letter of proposals will be forwarded to the General Assembly of the Network and the electronic assembly will be organised for the voting on proposed memberships. The Staff presented numerous calls for project proposals where the Network and member organisations can apply. Successful proposals would help build capacity and ensure sustainability of the Network. The Board also made an extensive list of possible source of funds to collect co-funding for the European Union project in 2016. The purpose of the strategic planning exercise was to determine the basis for the strategy of the Network, based on the Vision and Mission of the DPNSEE. It was a systematic process of envisioning a desired future, and translating this vision into defined goals or objectives and a sequence of steps to achieve them.

The strategic priorities proposed for the period 2017 – 2020 are: 

1.          Sustainability of the services – including but not limited to financing the programs, harm reduction, treatment, etc.

2.          Policy development – including advocacy, strengthening civil society, establishing partnership and promotion dialogue, undertaking researches to ensure evidence based approach, etc.

3.          Strengthening the Network – the Board, Office, Expert committee, but focusing on the Member organizations, including enlargement, capacity building, establishing a resource centre, etc.

The Action plan to implement the Strategy should be built on the needs recognised by the member organisations and situation in the drug policy field in South East Europe.

The board agreed that the 4th Board meeting and the General assembly will be held in Belgrade, Serbia from 28 to 30 November 2016. 

2nd DPNSEE Board Meeting

The second Board meeting of the Drug Policy Network South East Europe was held in Thessaloniki, Greece on the 2nd of June 2016 just before the Conference “Drug policy after the UNGASS 2016” organised by our member organisation Diogenis.

The Board welcomed three organisations and proposes to the General Assembly to recognise them as full members of the Network: Aktion Plus from Albania, Juventas from Montenegro and Centre for Life from Greece. The Board also welcomed staff members of the newly established office in Belgrade who presented themself to the members of the Board.


The meeting then continued towards ways the Code of Conduct, that will define management policies and procedures in DPNSEE will be designed. The Staff will prepare the draft of the document that will be adopted at the Third Board Meeting. In addition, the Board was discussing Strategy of the Network for the period 2016 – 2019. The working meeting of the Board will be organised in late August in FYRO Macedonia where the Strategy will be shaped in detail.

Members of the Board alongside with Staff discussed and updated the Action plan for 2016 and agreed on the timeframe of the country visits that are planned for this year. The Board also brainstormed possibilities of fundraising needed for the future activities of the Network. Organisation of the General Assembly, planned for late autumn will be at the agenda of the next Board Meeting in August.