The EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) is organising a conference in Sarajevo today marking the end of a two-year technical cooperation project with beneficiary countries of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA)(1). The conference is being held in association with the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Delegation of the EU to the country. Deputy Minister of Security, Mijo Krešić will attend the opening session (2).
The EU-funded project (IPA5)(3), operating within the framework of the EU Enlargement Policy (4), was designed to prepare candidate and potential candidate countries to the EU for future participation in the work of the EMCDDA. Kicking off in July 2015, it promoted knowledge transfer and capacity building in the area of drug monitoring and provided scientific support for information collection and analysis and for product development corresponding to national, EU and EMCDDA needs.
The IPA5 beneficiary countries are: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo*, Montenegro and Serbia. The project goals included:
The conference will look at how these objectives were implemented as well as related activities, lessons learned and next steps. The event will gather around 55 participants from the Western Balkan region representing a range of institutions (e.g. Ministries of health, internal affairs and the interior; customs authorities; forensic laboratories; public health institutes; the police; universities and clinics).
Under Objective 1, the EMCDDA organised national stakeholder meetings in each of the six beneficiary country capital cities to ensure national adherence to the project goals and expected outcomes.
Activities under Objective 2 included a data-collection exercise on assessing drug seizure data in the region, which included training sessions and analysis of national data. In cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the EMCDDA supported the assessment of drug treatment availability and service needs at national level by helping interested countries carry out drug treatment facility surveys. Also financed under the project was the implementation of the first national general population survey in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and in Montenegro.
The EMCDDA supported countries in developing national early-warning systems on new psychoactive substances (NPS) under Objective 3. Coaches from selected EU Member States were assigned to the interested beneficiary countries to implement capacity-development activities with key stakeholders.