The EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) is hosting a conference in Lisbon today marking the end of a 30-month technical cooperation project within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP)(1). The conference is being held in association with the European Commission’s Directorates-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG-HOME) and for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG-NEAR).
The European Union-funded project — ‘Towards a gradual improvement of ENP partner countries' capacity to monitor and to meet drug-related challenges’ — was conceived to boost the capacity of ENP partner countries to react to fresh challenges posed by the drug phenomenon. Kicking off in January 2014, it provided scientific support for collecting and analysing information on drugs and for producing ad hoc products corresponding to national, EU and EMCDDA needs.
Cooperation under the project included the exchange of know-how on national drug information systems and monitoring centres and the sharing of information on national strategies and best practice in demand reduction. An important component of the initiative was the exchange of information, working practices and methodology with project partner countries on the identification of new psychoactive substances.
Key outputs of the project included: the production of new information on the drug situation in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. This featured data on the prevalence of drug use among young people (ESPAD surveys); data on seizures and improved knowledge regarding data-collection systems on drug supply. Monitoring was strengthened via a series of national training activities on: drug prevention (Morocco); public expenditure (Israel); and NPS (Armenia). A national drug information system was also created in Lebanon.
Today’s conference will look at the project objectives, outputs, lessons learned and the way forward. The meeting will also include a visit to a drug treatment centre and a forensic laboratory of the Portuguese judicial police, organised in cooperation with the Portuguese Reitox focal point (SICAD).
The project began with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Israel, Moldova, Morocco and Ukraine. Other countries from the Eastern and Southern Partnership — Algeria, Belarus, Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia —also contributed to some of the project activities.
The ENP aims to forge closer ties with countries to the South and East of the European Union.