Meeting of EHRN’s national partner harm reduction networks and organizations

The meeting brought together EHRN organizational members from 27 countries, as well as national and international partners.

Currently, the region of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA) is facing two key harm reduction issues: to ensure financial and program sustainability and to reform repressive drug policies, with account to the needs of people who use drugs. National and international organizations working in the field of harm reduction need to find answers and suggest solutions to these issues. Each CEECA country has its own unique experience in attempting to solve them, and all together, we could be a resource for each other in terms of looking for new approaches.

While trying to find solutions to these challenging problems, EHRN Steering Committee initiated a two days’ meeting for representatives of harm reduction networks, EHRN’s key organizational members and international partners to discuss collaboration possibilities between EHRN and all the participants in advocacy for the programmatic and financial sustainability of harm reduction and reform of policies.

Summary

The meeting brought together EHRN organizational members from 27 countries, as well as national and international partners, to determine the joint members’ actions in advocacy for the programmatic and financial sustainability of harm reduction and reform of policies, to share their experiences in community mobilization and to learn from one another. The meeting provided a forum for the EHRN organizational members to identify specific areas and express their preferences in joint efforts.

Summarizing the information and ideas that were shared over the two days, the following key outputs should be mentioned:

  • The CEECA region countries have the largest dependency on international harm reduction funding while international donors progressively reduce their financial support.  Less Global Fund money is available for harm reduction in the middle-income countries (which is the case for all CEECA region countries).
  • Transition to national funding is a necessity which requires strong advocacy efforts at the country level. To successfully conduct advocacy for the national funding there is a need for increased transparency among national governments and international donors in order to fully understand what is being spent and where the gaps are.
  • Currently the Global Fund is developing a “transition readiness tool”, according to which activities in the coming 2–3 years should not be focused on service delivery, but purely on mapping and addressing structure barriers that prevent countries from delivering services.
  • Legal barriers determined by repressive drug policies are major obstacles for the implementation of harm reduction programs in CEECA. Advocacy efforts should take into consideration negative impacts of repressive drug policy on health, transparency, social systems, policy, human rights & equity and on substance displacement.

BEST PRACTICES

SANANIM, experience in budget diversification in the Czech Republic.
Udruga za pomoc mladima "HELP", experience of a successful transition to national funding in Croatia.
I Can Live Coalition, experience in EU structural funds allocation for harm reduction programs in Lithuania.
Estonia, experience of a successful transition from the Global Fund to the national funding.

Other examples of successful advocacy in transition to the national funding were presented by:

  1. Countries that have never received the Global Fund funding (or received it long ago) – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Croatia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic;
  2. Countries that no longer receive the Global Fund funding, but have received it before (Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Russia and Serbia);
  3. Countries that are still receiving the Global Fund funding (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan).

The current state of harm reduction funding

Catherine Cook, Senior Analyst in Harm Reduction International, introduced the main global trends of harm reduction funding.

The data shows that the Eastern Europe and Central Asia and the Asia-Pacific regions have the largest dependency on international harm reduction funding sources.

In her presentation Catherine showed the gap in funding by highlighting that only 7% of the harm reduction needs are funded globally. According to the 2010 data, only 8% of people who inject drugs (PWID) had access to OST, and only 4% of those living with HIV received ART. HRI analysed international donor investment in low- and middle-income countries and found that only 160 million USA dollars have been invested (which is just 7% if what is needed). According to the estimates, the need for 2015 was 2.3 billion USA dollars. Besides that, Catherine emphasized the need for increased transparency and agreed definitions among national governments and international donors in order to fully understand what is being spent and where the gaps are.

The Global Fund is currently investing much less in harm reduction in the middle-income countries, which is a problem. Even countries that have a substantial budget for harm reduction, like China, need to review approaches to how these funds are used in order to improve their effectiveness and efficiency. What is more, international donors are also reducing their funding: DFID bilateral funding for harm reduction has reduced dramatically; the same could be said about the Australian Government funding; the Dutch Government has so far been maintaining their funding commitments; PEPFAR funding is available for the transition to national ownership and technical support, but not for programming.

 (Download presentation)

 

Dasha Matyushina, Advisor of the Policy Reform Team at EHRN, described specifics of harm reduction funding in the CEECA region and highlighted transition processes in the region: from the Global Fund funding to national investment.

The diagram that showed transition to the national funding Dasha compared it to a “cycle of illness”. However, there are also good practices – for example, Estonia has successfully transitioned to national investment to harm reduction. The following activities are needed for successful transition: transparency of the processes; financial needs assessment; creating budget lines for harm reduction; establishing funding mechanisms for NGOs; systematic planning of transition to national funding in collaboration with the donors.

Dasha made a brief overview of the findings of the Regional Report “Harm Reduction Works – Fund It!”. The findings show that the cost of the harm reduction programs varies greatly from country to country; that legal barriers are major obstacles for the implementation of harm reduction programs in CEECA; and that it is likely that country commitments discussed at the Regional Dialogue in Tbilisi in September 2015 would not be met due to the economic crisis in the region.

(Download presentation)

 

Mauro Guarinieri, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, described the Global Fund’s position on the transition to national investment in the region. Currently, the Global Fund is developing several policies and tools. A special policy to address the transition (both on a broad level and with account to urgent situations in some countries) has been developed; it will be discussed by the Strategy and Investment Committee and later by the Board. In the coming 3–4 years at least 20 countries will undergo transition, some of them are Eastern European countries: Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, etc.

According to Mauro, the Global Fund is definitely dealing with situation, which is not uncommon for a donor. The Global Fund supposed to be engaged in very important negotiations, while its leverage is really low at the moment. At present, the Global Fund is working on a policy that will highlight the key issues. Is there enough transparency to allow some level of advocacy at the country level? These issues should be addressed during the transition period. The coming 2–3 years countries should be focusing not on service delivery, but purely on mapping and addressing structure barriers that prevent countries from delivering services. The Global Fund is also developing a number of tools, such as the “transition readiness tool”, that should be finalized in June-July 2016.

 

Sergey Votyagov, Developed Country NGOs Delegate at the Global Fund, mentioned that on 27–28 April 2016 the Global Fund would hold a meeting to adopt a new policy for sustainable funding. Priority will be given to low-income countries (there are no LIC in the CEECA region) with a high burden of diseases. The trend is that the donors look at the economic development rather than at how a country has advanced in its health system reform, as the international funding mostly comes from the development budgets.

CEECA countries are in Band 4: countries with higher income and low incidence rates. Thus, the Global Fund funding to CEECA will most likely decrease from 7% to 3%, which will happen in a three-year perspective. Therefore, we must find a way to transition to domestic funding as soon as possible.

What could strengthen our position in negotiations with the Global Fund and other donors?

First of all, countries should commit to allocating domestic funding (at least partial) and show that they are developing funding mechanisms for NGOs and budget lines for harm reduction. We need to expand the scope of advocacy and work more with health officials and politicians on the local level, to advance reforms and promote collaboration with the civil society.

 

During group work, participants discussed and identified key activities that could be implemented in half a year before Global Fund is leaving.

  1. Public campaigns. Collecting strong domestic evidence in order to raise awareness in the country.
  2. Advocacy and lobbying. Mapping existing strategies: partners, approaches, lobbying for legislative changes, introducing new laws. 
  3. Diversification of funds. Mapping potential donors; identifying pharma companies to produce supplies; implementing international fundraising campaigns; social entrepreneurship. 
  4. Planning transition that includes financial analysis and assessment of service quality.
  5. Integrating harm reduction in the national health programs and plans.

 

Rachael Crockett, TB Europe Coalition, described funding opportunities for the CEECA countries from EU programs. Only a few EHRN member countries have the experience of receiving EU funding (e.g. Estonia Slovenia, Poland, Lithuania, Tajikistan, Russia and some others). EU funding opportunities are available for three groups of states. The first group is, of course, EU member states (European Social Fund, European Regional Development Fund, Cohesion Fund). These funds can be used to reduce disparities, increase healthcare systems capacity and, for example, to support the adoption and implementation of EU laws. The second group is the European Neighborhood Instrument, designed to protect health in Eastern Neighborhood (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine). And the last group is Development Cooperation Policy funds that are provided as direct bilateral support to countries (e.g. Kyrgyzstan received 2.5 million Euros for a prisons reform project, to promote healthier living environment in prisons).

(Download presentation)

Existing mechanisms and practices of sustainable harm reduction funding from government sources in our region

Jiri Richter, SANANIM, shared experience of budget diversification in the Czech Republic. 65% of PWID in the Czech Republic are in touch with one or more harm reduction services. 2500 PWID are enrolled in the OST program. Harm reduction is part of the national strategy, included in the national and regional budgets. NGOs take part in budget planning and monitoring, both at the national and municipal levels.

What can we borrow from the Czech Republic experience?

  1. Diversification. Harm reduction is financed from different-level budgets and different sources, not only the Ministry of Health.
  2. Integration. Harm reduction should be part of national strategies and plans, i.e. deeply integrated into the system. 
  3. Distribution mechanisms. Funding is available to NGOs through well-elaborated distribution mechanisms.

(Download presentation)

 

Nevenka Mardešic, Udruga za pomoc mladima "HELP"–Split, shared experience of a successful transition to national funding in Croatia. National programs’ mission is to facilitate mobilization of Croatian society against HIV in order to maintain low prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the country.

The Global Fund project was not only about funding, it helped develop multilateral collaboration. National stakeholders, including the church, played a supportive role. NGOs received 38% of the overall Global Fund budget. Cooperation between NGOs and the government started in 1999 (legislative basis, successful contracting, M&E system in place). Treatment has always been funded through government funds. Local sources of financing at the municipal level were available. The Minister of Health officials were supportive from the very beginning.

(Download presentation)

 

Jurgita Poškevičiūtė, I Can Live Coalition, shared experience of EU structural funds allocation for harm reduction programs in Lithuania.

As she presented, there are 10 NSP sites (only 3 of them are operated by NGO, the rest of them are municipal) and 19 OST sites. The coverage of NSP is about 20% (according to NGOs estimate). The coverage of OST is less than 10%. According to the World Bank classification, Lithuania is a high income country. Global Fund resources have never been available in Lithuania, but the country had had funding from OSF and, for a few years (just like Latvia and Estonia), from the UNODC. But these projects are over. Domestic funding for advocacy and policy work is not available. Moreover, since Lithuania is a high-income EU country, sources from the international donors are also close to zero.

Jurgita shared a story on how the minister of health initiated a plan for addressing health disparities, which was supposed to encompass the entire health system and prioritize issues. In 2016, there were plans for assimilation of harm reduction funds with structural funds, which means that the health disparities plan should be budgeted in details and allocated already. Initially, a plan for distribution of funds to municipal institutions and other eligible organizations was being developed for 2015, but due to certain political tensions and disputes it has been cancelled. There are resources available, as well as plans for the expansion of OST and NSP, but it is still unclear how it is going to happen, and there are mayor risks, such as: whether the money will reach the actual service providers; whether the money will be assimilated; the state planning does not necessarily include NGOs; eligibility of NGOs to be listed in the plans; non-transparent way of allocating money “by a state planning method”; all these funds are intended for service delivery and expansion, not for advocacy.

 

During group work participants shared unique countries’ experiences on working mechanisms of funding NGOs on the national and local levels. The discussion focused on what was done to secure government funding for NGOs, what was successful and what advocacy efforts did not bring the expected results.

Several good examples were shared with audience.

Countries that have never received the Global Fund funding (or received it long ago) – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Croatia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic:

  • working with coalitions of NGOs, not only one provider (Croatia);
  • providing long-term operational grants to NGOs – for three years (Hungary);
  • developing municipal funding mechanisms that allow more flexibility for NGOs compared to having only the national-level distribution mechanism (Latvia, Lithuania);
  • outcome oriented financing is a more stable option (in terms of the quality of services) compared to a tendering system (when the operator tends to choose the cheapest offer);
  • volunteer work is crucial, especially during transition from international to national funding;
  • advocating transition and funding for harm reduction through several politicians and political institutions (as politicians often change);
  • using emotional stories in advocacy, as rational arguments do not always work (politicians are a reflection of public opinion).

Countries that no longer receive the Global Fund funding, but have received it before (Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Russia and Serbia):

  • for the moment, in most of these countries there are no sustainable funding mechanisms, and very little funding is available (in Montenegro only 5% of NGOs have received some funding for harm reduction, and only for a very limited time-frame – 3-6 months); 
  • in some cases, ad-hoc funding (mainly from the local budgets) mechanisms work, thanks to personal connections (like in Bosnia and Montenegro);
  • the voice of NGOs is not strong enough to convince the government to support harm reduction programs.

Countries that are still receiving the Global Fund funding (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan):

  • Global Fund grants are still available;
  • in some countries, like Ukraine and Moldova, the government distributes the Global Fund funding; in other countries, like Kyrgyzstan, the civil society operates the grant;
  • some countries of the EECA region have social contracting mechanisms, but they do not extend to harm reduction;
  • there is almost no domestic funding for harm reduction in the EECA region.

First signs of progress:

  • Kazakhstan has recently introduced the national social contracting mechanism for HIV prevention and treatment which is available to NGOs through competition;
  • the government of Georgia co-funds Hepatitis C treatment (with the main funding coming the Global Fund). 

Policy Reform: Context of UNGASS-2016 on drugs

Catherine Cook, Senior Analyst from Harm Reduction International, presented the global trends in the drug policy. What is UNGASS? It is the highest policy-making and representative organ of the UN. A Special Session may be called by a majority of Member States or the Security Council. UNGASS-2016 (19–21 April) was requested by the Presidents of Mexico, Guatemala and Columbia and supported by 95 Member States in the context of increasing calls for drug policy reforms. The International Drug Policy Coalition (IDPC) has developed five askes for UNGASS: ensure an open debate; reset the objectives of drug policies; support new approaches; end the criminalization of drug users; commit to harm reduction.

(Download presentation)

 

Zhannat Kosmukhamedova, UNODC, introduced the global drug policy-making process and the objectives of UNGASS-2016 on drugs.

Objectives of the international conventions are to ensure availability of controlled substances for medical purposes and protect health of the population. The international conventions support/allow for: harm reduction; depenalization of drug use or possession for personal use; alternatives to incarceration for drug-related offences in all sectors; treatment and care, but not punishment for people who use drugs. The international conventions DO NOT SUPPORT compulsory treatment. Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) is the policy-making body of the UN.

The 2009 Political Declaration towards an integrated and balanced strategy includes: 1. Demand reduction and related matters; 2. Supply reduction and related matters; 3. Countering money laundering and promoting judicial cooperation to enhance international cooperation.

UNGASS-2016 will consist of a general debate and five interactive round tables.

Zhannat also mentioned the importance of active civil society engagement, which could be arranged through the New York NGO Committee on Drugs (NYNGOC) and/or the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC); influencing public opinion and lobbying governments to promote more progressive drug policies during international debates; sending civil society submissions to UNODC at the official UNGASS website:

http://www.unodc.org/ungass2016/en/contribution_ngos.html

(Download presentation)

 

Dasha Matyushina, Advisor at the Policy Reform Team in EHRN, talked about the joint steps to prepare for UNGASS on drugs and to reform drug policies.

More and more countries step back from repressive drug policies, decriminalize drugs or legalize cannabis. The current drug policies lead to “unintended consequences”.

EHRN Classification of the Unintended Consequences of Repressive Drug Policies in CEECA

Health impact

High rates of HIV, Hepatitis C and TB morbidity and mortality 

High rates of overdose mortality

Transparency impact

Corruption

Low access to fair trial

Social impact

Stigma
Massive incarceration Low level of education and employment among PWUD

Policy impact

Low level of domestic funding for harm reduction, HIV and Hepatitis C treatment

Legal framework limiting harm reduction programs (including a ban or overregulation of methadone)

Human rights & equity impact

Non-protection from police violence
Discrimination in the healthcare system
Low access to harm reduction services among women
Low access to harm reduction services among young people

Low access to health services in prison settings

Substance displacement

Introduction of desomorphine, “bath salts” and “spices” into the drug markets

We should be engaged in the UNGASS processes to get country support for progressive drug policy reform at the international level and use UNGASS to reduce the gap between more progressive and less progressive countries in CEECA. Also, we should enhance the European solidarity in the region, as opposed to the Russian negative influence. At the country level, it is important to start building consensus on drug policy changes.

Positive and negative issues related to the UNGASS outcome document:

Negative issues: no mention of harm reduction; no mention of the role of the PWUD community; vague language on HIV commitments, no mention of the need to expand HIV treatment.

Positive issues: alternatives to incarceration; campaigns against stigmatization of PWUD; addressing the needs of women and youth in treatment programs.

The main opportunities to participate in the preparation for UNGASS on drugs are as follows: 1) 10 February: Informal civil society hearing; 2) Country consultations in February (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania consulted by EHRN; Ukraine by the OSF; Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan by the UNAIDS/UNODC; other countries by EHRN); 3) 14 March: 59th session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs; 4) Country statements; 5) EHRN side event; 6)19–21 April: UNGASS on drugs 7) 25 April: Street lawyers forum in Kiev (organized by EHRN).

The main aim of country consultations is to provide an opportunity to discuss a joint position among the government institutions, public health, law enforcement and civil society stakeholders for the UNGASS-2016 on the World Drug Problem.

Country position should reflect the country’s progress in fulfilling the objectives of the Political Declaration and the Plan of Action; main barriers to achieving these objectives; improvements to the draft UNGASS outcome document.

Dasha also explained what should be included into the Regional Position for UNGASS: the document should reflect the regional situation as a whole and be relevant for all (or the majority of) the countries. It should serve as a basis for all regional statements and a basis for civil society statements on the national level. The Position should include not just plain text, but also examples (unintended consequences + best practices). The Position should be clear and contain statements describing follow-up actions after the UNGASS on drugs.

(Download presentation)

 

The audience was divided into 4 groups to discuss negative consequences of repressive drug policies specific to CEECA countries.

Group 1 (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan). Human rights and equity impact:

Situation is characterized by stigma and criminalization of PWID. This is a result of unfavorable state drug policy supported by law enforcement agencies and often by health professionals who are interested in preserving the status quo. Their approaches are limited to combating drug trafficking (=drug users) and to drug-free treatment. The misinterpretation and often the denial of the reality lead to the violation of PWID human rights and, consequently, to negative impact on the national health. National policies are often based on indistinct international conventions. NGOs, communities and activists can’t find their place in such a structure.

Group 2 (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia). Transparency impact (corruption):

Repressive drug policy leads to corruption on several levels. It contributes to maintaining a black market for drugs and strong criminal organizations influencing governments and their policies, as well as the world financial systems. It also has a negative effect on the national law systems, provoking bribery. It contributes to the corruption among law enforcement agencies by involving them into the black drug market. It also influences health systems by involving them into illicit drug trafficking and into arbitrary judgment in courts. The effect of transparency absence on PWID is expressed in crimes connected with drugs, disproportionate sentencing and overdoses.

Group 3 (Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Montenegro). Policy impact on domestic funding for HR, HIV and HC):

Domestic funding for activities in the field of HIV and HCV is determined by repressive drug policy and, as a consequence, by the absence of access to treatment for key affected populations. On the one hand, there is considerable funding available for law enforcement agencies. On the other hand, insufficient funding for treatment of HIV and especially of HCV (both in the community and in prisons), with treatment programs often requiring clients to be drug free. There is low or zero domestic funding for harm reduction programs. It leads to the increase of HIV and HCV rates and, consequently, to the financial burden related to the epidemics.

Group 4 (Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine). Substance displacement (desomorphine, salts, spices):

Repressive policy often targets traditional drugs and people who use them. This leads to drug displacement by new substances that are cheaper, easier to be produced and almost legally available. People switch to group production, which leads to group consumption, and this, in turn, contributes to increased mental health problems, overdoses, infections and mortality. All of this results in the growing public health costs. 

What could we do jointly to prepare for UNGASS on drugs and to reform drug policies?

Key points, results of group work and next steps

Discussion and group work on the amendments to the joint Regional Position of the civil society on drug policy

  • EHRN and ENPUD members and partners should leave comments to the Regional Position
  • Promote the Regional Position on 10 February in New York
  • Report on the “unintended consequences”
  • Present at CND on 14 March
  • Widely disseminate/promote through mass and social media
  • Present at UNGASS – through mass and social media
  • A basis for action after UNGASS                                                    

PUD community mobilization and advocacy

Olga Byelyayeva, Manager of the Membership and Community Strengthening Team at EHRN, described how EHRN works for and together with the PUD community.

In 2015, EHRN supported 22 organizations in 11 countries with 210,000 EUR grants.

EHRN works in the countries through the community leaders (grants, participation in conferences, trainings), searching for allies, creating initiative groups. An initiative group is a legitimate opportunity for the community to represent their rights as PWID. Technical support should be understood as working meetings, monitoring what is working in a country, and creating partnerships. In the countries of Regional Program “Harm Reduction Works - Fund It!” – Belarus, Georgia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Tajikistan, as well as in Ukraine, the initiative groups and community organizations are able to influence national policies for harm reduction. It is important to ensure partnership between all stakeholders in a country – community groups, NGOs, donors, governments, regional and national networks.

(Download presentation)

Good practices from countries in PUD community mobilization and advocacy

Andrey Yarovoy, Ukraine, shared experience on how to engage the community into the decision-making processes. In Ukraine, OST exists since 2006. 8500 patients are on OST now, and 10% are taking buprenorphine. In 2009, a patients’ organization was created with the goal to ensure access to OST for all PWID who need it. A lot of positive results were achieved, but the society is still insufficiently informed about the effectiveness, humanity and low cost of OST. That is why EHRN’s informational component is very important. Key achievements: the purchase of medications is under community control; there are national producers for methadone; the purchases are of good quality, not the cheapest products; quality monitoring  and patients’ surveys; the organization is part of public bodies and can influence health policies.

Medea Khmelidze, Georgian Harm Reduction Network (GHRN), told about the history of GHRN. At the start, committed activists of the network managed to convince the donors and start the first pilot project. Then the Global Fund appeared and the programs scaled up; initiative groups turned up into organizations and became more visible. After the launch of Regional Program “Harm Reduction Works – Fund It!”, GHRN gave small grants to community-based NGOs for capacity building. Community members did not have skills in data research, so the network helped them. GHRN also started cooperation with the Georgian Network of People who Use Drugs. The key focus is to make the transition process as smooth as possible for harm reduction, to avoid gaps and ensure liberalization of the drug policy. We have representatives in  CCM, organize a civil society forum and work out channels of integration into the transition process.

Alena Asaeva, Eurasian Network of People Who Use Drugs (ENPUD), introduced the network. ENPUD was created in February 2010 and currently has around 200 members. ENPUD works closely with EHRN by implementing joint projects. Initiative groups are active on the local level, but there is a need for them to be united into national networks in their countries and have more involvement in the advocacy decision-making processes. There is also such a coordinating body in Russia, of which ENPUD is a member, which is a good decision-making opportunity.

Bermet Tokombaeva shared the PUD community experience in Kyrgyzstan. Bermet started working in the field of harm reduction in 2000, in a NA program. Soon she understood that Kyrgyzstan was lacking visible community leaders, so they decided to create a network and promote a representative to CCM. As Bermet says: “We were pushed by stigma and discrimination, and we stood up and showed our faces and voices. Now each community has a representative in CCM. Our community is strong, we have a right to live, we can speak for ourselves, we have knowledge and power, and we know what to do.”

Conclusion

The meeting had high representation and a balance of EHRN member-countries. Such face-to-face meetings and platforms for exchange of experiences on advocacy priorities are important for the EHRN member organizations. It provided a forum for the organizational members to express their preferences in engaging with EHRN in joint fundraising efforts according to EHRN’s two strategic objectives.

Feedback from the meeting was very positive – participants greatly enjoyed the chance to meet like-minded people from so many countries of the region, the opportunity to network and to learn from each other, and the chance to explore ideas and discuss essential issues.

Next steps

To follow-up on the meeting outcomes and move things forward, the following action points will be implemented in collaboration with EHRN members and partners in order to stimulate EHRN members and help them be a vibrant network of peers who maximize the values of a network for problem-solving and advocacy in harm reduction:

Networking, linking and communicating

  • Organize the second joint meeting of EHRN institutional members and partners to provide a platform for discussion and help EHRN members be a vibrant network of peers who utilize each other as a resource in advocacy.
  • Who: EHRN organizational members and key partners
  • When: The next meeting is scheduled for November 2016

  • Develop webinars in English and in Russian separatly on the following topic areas:
    • Sustainability/Post-donor survival
    • Service Delivery
    • Drug Policy
    • Advocacy
  • When: Monthly, starting from May. Information about upcoming vebinars and registration will be anonced via the website, listserv and Facebook

  • Webinars for women who use drugs (WUD) on police violence using online training module developed by EHRN.
  • Who: WUD from Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The training module is developed in English and Russian. 
  • When: Q2–Q3 2016

  • Practical tools and infographics for civil society and communities on Community Right and Gender issues.
  • Who: Eastern Europe and Central Asia countries
  • When: ​Once a quarter 

​Intensive learning

  • Country visits  to Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to meet with EHRN member and PUD community organizations to discuss and document drug policy issues and community involvement.
  • Who: Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia
  • When: End of May 2016

  • Workshop “What works – How to leverage European Union funding for harm reduction in Central European countries of the EU?”.
  • Who: Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. More info and application form here http://goo.gl/a6mqiL
  • When: 2–3 June 2016; September 2016

  • Training and capacity building for activists of the community of women who use drugs
  • Who: Armenia, Estonia and Tajikistan. Three scholarships will be awarded to women activists to participate in national and regional trainings and seminars on human rights, drug policy advocacy, communication, strategic litigation and on organizing gender-sensitive harm reduction services
  • When: March 2016; June 2016; September 2016

  • 5 national trainings for WUD in 4 selected countries on human rights and drug policy.
  • Who: Eligible countries: Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia
  • When: TBD

  • Regional training of trainers (ToT) for leaders/activists of community-based organizations to engage with a combination of linked Investment Assessment (IA) and Service Assessment (SA) – including trainers from the community.
  • Who: TBD
  • When: 13–17 June 2016

​International representation

 

  • Joint Position Statement  from the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN) and the Eurasian Networkof People who Use Drugs (ENPUD) for  UNGASS-2016 on the World Drug Problem.
  • A consultative process was organized at the EHRN’s institutional members meeting and through the EHRN website – http://www.harm-reduction.org/joint_statement_comments

  • Regional meeting “Seeking Alternatives for Repressive Drug Policies” dedicated to establishing cooperation in the area of effective health and human rights-based drug policies.
  • Who: Heads and deputy heads of drug control services, representatives of law enforcement authorities, experts in the field of law, public health and public safety, representatives of civil society and populations affected by drug use from Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Latvia, Moldova, Tajikistan and Ukraine
  • When: 25–26 April 2016, Kiev, Ukraine

 

Agenda

Download Agenda (PDF)

List of Participants

Download List of Participants (PDF)

Final Report (PDF)

Download Final Report (PDF)

Galery

Memories from the 1-2 February meeting