Drug Policy co-operation between Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and national authorities in South East Europe

On May 10th a meeting took place in Belgrade, Serbia between representatives of Non-Governmental organisations active in the field of drugs and National drug co-ordinators from the Countries in South East Europe. The meeting was organised by Diogenis, drug policy dialogue, in co-operation with the Drug Policy Network South East Europe (DPNSEE) and the office for combating drugs of Serbia. At the meeting participated drug policy co-ordinators and NGOs from respectively 9 and 10 countries of South East Europe. The meeting was an opportunity to exchange information and experiences of good practices and to reflect on possibilities of future cooperation on the national and regional level.

After an introduction of the participants the current situation of cooperation between National Authorities and NGOs was discussed. There is a variety of co-operations structures in the countries of South East Europe. Some countries have a formal structure of co-operation with regular consultation, participation in decision making bodies concerning drug policy and financial support of activities of NGOs. Other countries are on the way to create co-operation structures and are discussing about embedding rules for cooperation between NGOs and competent authorities in national law. All countries recognise the importance of the work that NGOs do, but much more needs to be done for full cooperation. An extensive discussion took place on quality standards, requirements that NGOs must fulfil for the implementation of government-funded projects and training opportunities for capacity building. A session has been devoted to drug policy issues related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the recommendations of the UNGASS outcome document 2016. It is agreed to repeat such meetings at the regional level. A report of the meeting will be published soon.