DPNSEE General Assembly

The Drug Policy Network South East Europe held its 2nd regular annual General Assembly in Belgrade, Serbia from 3rd to 5th December 2017. It was the opportunity to meet, analyse the work looking back on the year that almost ended and decide about the future work.

Thanks to the generous support from the Office for combating drugs of the Republic of Serbia, the Assembly was held in the Palace Serbia, the governmental representative building. Representatives of 15 out of 22 member organisations participated, including 2 newly recognised members.

Our distinguished guests at the Assembly were His Excellency Ambassador of Portugal Augusto Saraiva Peixoto and Director of the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of Serbia Milan Pekić.

The Assembly adopted the report about the work in 2017 and financial report presenting the Network’s main activities. The plans for 2018 were also adopted, based on the strategic priorities proposed by the Board and ideas for possible projects and partnership building.

Changes in the Board were introduced to ensure that this governing body is active in implementing the action plan. Vlatko Dekov (HOPS, FYRO Macedonia) is elected new Chairperson and Nebojša Đurasović (Prevent, Serbia) new Vice-Chair. While Denis Dedajić (Margina, Bosnia Herzegovina), Marios Atzemis (Positive Voice, Greece) and Saša Mijović (4 Life, Montenegro) remain members of the Board as Secretary, Treasurer and Member, newly elected Board member Anna Lyubenova (Initiative for Health Foundation,IHF, Bulgaria) will serve as Deputy Secretary, and Erlind Plaku (Aksion Plus, Albania) as Deputy Treasurer.

In order to establish common positions, small group work was organised on key issues for which DPNSEE will issue statements in the future. Cannabis and Drug checking were specific topics for sharing and generating ideas.

Treatment Systems in Prisons in Eastern and Southeastern Europe

Pompidou Group – Council of Europe Co-operation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Drugs, published a new publication “Drug Treatment Systems in Prisons in Eastern and Southeastern Europe”. The publication sheds light into the situation of drug users among criminal justice populations and corresponding health care responses in ten countries in Eastern and Southeastern Europe: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo*, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, and Ukraine.

Prisons differ across different countries, as do prisoner populations. In some of the countries in the study there is an almost complete unavailability of effective drug dependence treatment (e.g. Opiate Agonist Treatment), or the potential of these treatment has not been exploited yet to its full. But also models of good practice exist in a few of the researched countries.

The publication is a product of the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe project “Improving Drug Treatment Systems in prisons” which was financed by Luxembourg.

DPNSEE Chairperson Tijana Žegura and Secretary of the Board Denis Dedajić contributed to the publication.

Those interested in downloading the publication should follow this LINK>>>

Serbian Visions – where civil society meets business sector

German – Serbian Chamber of Commerce (Deutsch-Serbischen Wirtschaftskammer  http://serbien.ahk.de/), in cooperation with the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (http://www.pks.rs/) organised the second multi congress Serbian Visions on 26 and 27 November 2016 at the hotel Radisson Blu Old Mill in Belgrade. The aim of organizing the only multi was strengthening the role of civilian movements within the country as well as creating more favourable economic environment by emphasizing important country-development activities.

The event encompassed 60 two hour long sessions on a number of topics: human rights issues, economics,
education, culture, health care, environmental protection, the EU integrations, security, innovations and
other programs which represent a vision of better future for Serbia. Session hosts were NGOs, institutes,
associations, universities and faculties, groups of professionals and companies, using different types of
presentations: discussions, forums, presentations, workshops, seminars, movies, etc.

Drug Policy Network South East Europe hosted the session on “Sustainability of support services to drug
users”. DPNSEE Board members Denis Dedajić and Saša Mijović, together with the Executive Director
Milutin Milošević, presented the situation in Serbia and the region and also some ideas for action that can
help make the difference and ensure regular and comprehensive services.

Although not many people participated in the session due to extremely unpopular term (Sunday at 16:00),
the discussion was very interesting and fruitful.

Potential for cooperation on justice and home affairs

DPNSEE Board member Denis Dedajić and Executive Director Milutin Milošević visited the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), the successor of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, who focuses on promotion and enhancement of regional cooperation in South East Europe. The main tasks of the RCC are to represent the region, assist the SEECP, monitor regional activities, exert leadership in regional cooperation, provide a regional perspective in donor assistance – notably the EU’s Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (c) programme – and support increased involvement of civil society in regional activities. The RCC functions as a focal point for regional cooperation in SEE and its key role is to generate and coordinate developmental projects of a wider, regional character, to the benefit of each individual participant, and create an appropriate political climate susceptible to their implementation.

Justice and home affairs are one of the areas of cooperation in the framework of the RCC. Fighting serious and organised crime is one of the areas for which RCC Strategy and Work Programme 2014-2016 envisages assistance to the SEE governments in meeting the EU accession criteria through the regional cooperation.

DPNSEE representatives had a very interesting information sharing meeting with Mrs Ivana Goranić, the Expert on Governance for Growth working on justice issues on 18 August 2016. Several possibilities for cooperation related to the issue of drugs were identified, including exchange and partnership of police and justice structures. The RCC offers grants and DPNSEE will be interested to prepare a project proposal in 2017.