EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel is in Washington today where he will meet Ambassador Adam Namm, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD). The purpose of the visit is to discuss ongoing EMCDDA–CICAD cooperation and review the topics to be addressed under the joint work programme (2020–2024). Respectively, the two organisations lead the regional drug information systems of Europe and the Americas and, in so doing, make a valuable contribution to evidence-based information on drugs at global level.

The EMCDDA collaborates with CICAD under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with its parent body, the Organization of American States (OAS) in 2000. In the context of the MoU, the two bodies hold regular coordination meetings to fine-tune work programme activities and assess progress.

This is Mr Goosdeel’s first visit to CICAD since taking up the post of Director in January 2016. Ambassador Lamm visited the EMCDDA in March 2019 to discuss perspectives of the new work programme, which will be formally signed this week.

During the visit, the EMCDDA delegation will meet CICAD staff, including: Angela Crowdy, CICAD Assistant Executive Secretary; Farah Urrutia, Secretary for Multidimensional Security; and Marya Hynes, Chief of the Inter-American Observatory on Drugs.

Strategic objectives outlined in the work programme include: strengthening regional and international monitoring systems (including early-warning systems on new psychoactive substances/NPS); harmonising and developing indicators in the areas of drug supply and demand; and supporting the establishment of national drug monitoring centres and drug information networks. In the respective geographical areas of the two bodies, the programme also foresees information exchange on regional and national drug strategies, legislation and developments in drug production and use.

A significant component of the EMCDDA–CICAD partnership to date has been the publication of a joint handbook on building national drug observatories. Released in 2010 and now available in 10 languages, this practical guide supports the establishment and development of national drug monitoring centres in Europe — including non-EU countries — and Latin America. The meeting is expected to look at the current format of the handbook and potential updates.

During the two-day meeting, the Directors will present an overview of their respective organisations’ activities. Roumen Sedefov, EMCDDA Head of unit for Risks to public safety and security, will present the ‘making of’ the 2019 EU Drug Markets Report and the EU early warning system on NPS. Gonçalo Felgueiras, EMCDDA Head of unit for Reitox and external partners — joining the agency’s delegation as its contact point for the implementation of the work programme — will discuss synergies with his counterpart Marya Hynes.

The EMCDDA and CICAD support UN and EU efforts to strengthen information systems on drugs. They are two key contributing institutions to the EU’s Cooperation Programme between Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union on Drugs Policies (COPOLAD). This programme aims to improve the coherence, balance and impact of drug policies between the regions, through the exchange of mutual experience, bi-regional coordination and the promotion of coordinated responses. COPOLAD II, which kicked off in 2015, will draw to a close in June this year and its continuation is currently being discussed at EU level.

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