Side event: The EU Drug strategy 2013-2020

Chairperson: Ambassador Gyorgyi Martin Zanathy, Head of delegation of the EU to the international organizations in Vienna. She made introductions and opened the session. 

There event was addressed by four special guest speakers: Mr. Alex White T.D, Minister of state for primary care, Ireland; Mr. Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director UNODC; Ms. Paola Tardioli- Schiavo, European Commission and Mr. Michel Perron, Chairperson of the Vienna NGO Committee. 

Hon Ambassador, Gyorgyi Martin Zanathy made the opening and introductions.

Overview of the EU drugs strategy 2013-20, The strategy is geared to providing overarching political framework and priorities for EU drugs policy identified by member states and EU institutions, for the period. 

The framework, aim and objectives of the strategy will serve as basis for two consecutive 4 year EU drugs Action plans.The strategy takes into account relevant UN political documents, recognizing that Drug demand reduction and drug supply reduction are mutually reinforcing elements in illicit drugs policy and UN political declaration on HIV AIDS. 

The strategy will strengthen dialogues between EU and other partners, to enable EU to speak with one voice.The strategy supports evidence based effective approaches and human rights. The European Union is ready to increase integration and support to further the drug policy discourse.

Mr. Alex White T.D., Minister of state for primary care, Ireland
The EU Drugs Strategy builds on earlier strategies, taking into account the lesson learned from the implementation of previous EU drug strategies and associated Action Plans. The strategy aims at reducing drug demand supply reduction. 

The strategy supports the four pillars: Supply reduction, rehabilitation, research and treatment.

 The development of the strategy represents significant steps: Involvement of community, and civil society contributions. He commends the initiative. 

Increasing trends towards poly-drug use and spread of new psychoactive substances are important challenges that need addressing. 

Mr. Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director UNODC    
Thanked EU for the donations and intellectual support to the UNODC.Plan of action is the roadmap to UN in addressing the issue of illicit drugs.The EU Drugs Strategy considers Human rights and health based approaches. UNODC welcomes the evidence based approaches and appreciate the use of therapeutic drugs for pain relief and other medicinal purposes. 

“While problems may be local, solutions must be Global”(Mr. Yuri Fedotov, Vienna 2013). South Europe is an important area for intervention. A significant amount of Heroin is being trafficked from Afganistan to EU through South Europe. Cocaine is also being trafficked directly to Europe through West Africa

Ms. Paola Tardioli-Schiavo
European Commission was not directly involved in development of the strategy but has indirectly contributed in many ways.Although Drug challenges are national issues of the particular member states, EU Strategy helps the national strategies of the member states and helps consistency
The strategy is not inventing new things but it builds on what has been done and what has been proved to be good. It sets priority, consolidate new models and sets grounds to address new psychoactive drugs newly introduced. It is a collective effort. The steps taken into developing the strategy include not only evaluation of the strategies but of the action plans too. Member states worked on these evaluations and came up with conclusions. It is important to underline two things: what is discovered to be important to cover and way forward.

Michel Perron, Chairperson of the Vienna NGO committee
VNGOC has over a hundred NGOs/CSOs involved in all areas of drug use interventions
When EU strategy was developed all members were consulted, CSOs were consulted
Appreciate the human rights principles.The research identified what interventions are effective. The VNGOC welcomes the support on strategies that support efforts that address human rights and health issues 

Questions and answers
What is EU doing for Harm reduction?
Ms. Paola Tardioli-Schiavo: EU Commission: Harm reduction was addressed in the evaluation. EU considers harm reduction as a success. It is mentioned as an important intervention. We don’t support Harm reduction directly, but indirectly through financing PAP where we support many effective strategies. Harm reduction is an important demand reduction strategy. 

Question: does the commission have specific plans for eastern part of Europe? The situation with regard to health related harms is bad. Question is not on strategy but specific actions:
Ans: Ms. Paola Tardioli-Schiavo: Eastern Europe is an important part of Europe. We have Eastern Europe partners. We cannot intervene without involvement of the region. They can benefit from all the activities we do here.

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