Profile of EMCDDA Director Wolfgang Götz
Over 25 years’ experience in the cross-border collection and analysis of information
Wolfgang Götz has been Director of the EMCDDA since May 2005, having been appointed by the agency’s Management Board on 19 April that year. In July 2009, the Board renewed his mandate unanimously for a further five-year term commencing on 1 May 2010.
During his first mandate, Mr Götz paid special attention to ‘enhancing the scientific quality and efficiency of the agency’s work’ and to providing policymakers with evidence-based information for ‘a more informed and reasoned debate on the drugs problem’. On taking up the position, he declared: ‘Our job is not to dictate drug policy but to provide the evidence necessary for informed decision-making. Sound information is the key to an effective strategy on drugs.’
The beginning of his second mandate coincided with the adoption of an ambitious EMCDDA three-year work programme for 2010–12, and the agency’s move to new premises in the Portuguese capital. Commenting on his reappointment, he vowed a ‘renewed energy’ to pursue the goals set out in this programme and a ‘strong commitment’ to boosting the agency’s scientific performance and independence.
Mr Götz has proven expertise in the building, and effective use, of statistical and information systems and has extensive experience in managing a multilingual, multinational staff. As Director, his main priorities are to set clear strategic goals for the agency, enhance the quality and efficiency of its work, and boost its reputation as the European reference point on drugs. Among the challenges for the future, Mr Götz cites keeping pace with change and providing policymakers with an up-to-date understanding of the issues they face (e.g. via the effective monitoring of new substances and patterns of use). He also underlines the need to further develop demand reduction and supply reduction activities, notably in improving information tools and analysis.
A German civil servant, fluent in English and French, Mr Götz has been seconded to international organisations since 1985. He has a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Freiburg, and has lectured in macroeconomics, management and accounting. He has spent most of his 35-year career managing international projects and teams in the area of collecting, analysing and managing statistics and other information key to policy-making and implementation. Mr Götz was born in Freiburg on 17 November 1951.
Recent achievements (since the 2007 recast of the EMCDDA regulation):
- 2010–2012 work programme — steered the agency through a three-year strategy that consolidated core data sets. This allowed the agency to carry out more complex analyses, scale up its activities and work in new areas of strategic importance (e.g. monitoring drug supply) and strengthen its capacity to track and evaluate emerging trends and threats. Oversaw enhanced partnership, new collaborative ventures, joint activities with other EU agencies and international organisations active in the drugs field, as well as with academic and scientific communities.
- 2007–2009 work programme — steered the agency through a three-year strategy that focused on working more efficiently, investing more in analysis and communicating more effectively with key audiences. This followed the recast EMCDDA regulation (which entered into force in January 2007) which broadened the scope of the agency’s tasks, enabling it to provide a fuller picture of the contemporary drugs problem (new drugs, emerging trends, polydrug use, best practice). Supervised the agency’s contribution to evaluating the EU drugs action plan (2005–08) and, at global level, and its role in the review of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs. Led a conference marking the EMCDDA’s 15th anniversary which identified Europe’s future information needs for effective drug policy.
- 1 May 2010 — starts second five-year term as Director of the EMCDDA.
- 19 April 2005 — appointed Director of the EMCDDA (first five-year term).
- February 2001 — appointed Head of unit responsible for the European Information Network on Drugs and Drug Addiction (Reitox), composed of national drug monitoring centres across Europe. Key responsibilities during this period include preparations for the integration of 10 new EU Member States (2004 EU enlargement).
- December 1996 — joins the EMCDDA to head its Information department. Develops strategies in the areas of multilingual publishing, media and public relations and information technology.
- 1994 — moves to Eurostat (EU statistics agency) in Luxembourg to focus on the statistical practices and requirements of Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs). Conceives and oversees measures to strengthen and standardise their statistical systems and sets up the first systematic dataflow from the CEECs to Eurostat.
- 1985 — embarks on the international phase of his career. Heads an EU project in Togo managing statistical field surveys and the analysis and dissemination of results. Heads a regional project supporting West African nations in the standardisation of the foreign trade and customs statistics and procedures. At the same time, he supervises the development of the central information system holding data from the members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).