A year in review: General Report of Activities 2020 published today

Resilience, agility and innovation are among the recurring themes in the latest EMCDDA General Report of Activities, released today. The annual publication — presenting key achievements and governance — relates how the EMCDDA executed its work programme in 2020, a special year marking its 25 years of monitoring, but also the arrival of COVID-19.

Despite teleworking and lockdowns, the report describes how the EMCDDA team rose to the challenge of the pandemic and delivered some of its most successful products and services to date, including 35 scientific and corporate publications. Interest in the agency over the 12 months was illustrated by the estimated 1.6 million visitors to the EMCDDA website.

Although 2020 began with a clear list of priorities defined by the annual work programme, the organisation had to adapt swiftly to the new reality. The priority, more than ever, was to serve the EMCDDA’s primary customers with timely analyses, such as on the impact of COVID-19 on drug use, services and markets. To that end, 11 new projects (including trendspotting exercises), were launched, and a rich set of resources was produced and disseminated as a result.

As crises often bring opportunity, lockdown meant an acceleration of the agency’s plans for digital transformation. In the core business area, highlights included the digital launch of the European Drug Report 2020 with European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson. The agency’s knowledge-transfer offer was enriched in 2020 with a new webinar series, seven of which focused on COVID-19. The EMCDDA’s training and capacity-building activities also went digital, benefitting close to 500 drug professionals (e.g. health practitioners, law enforcement officers and policymakers). Meanwhile, at corporate level, a mobility transformation programme began, designed to equip staff with mobile workstations to help boost flexibility and efficiency during remote or hybrid working.

Many other highlights are presented in today’s report, including: enhanced partnerships, in particular with the Reitox network of national focal points; funding for a bilateral technical assistance project with Georgia; adoption of the EU drugs strategy for 2021–2025, with technical input from the EMCDDA; and the successful implementation of the 2020 Roadmap of the EMCDDA Strategy 2025.

In a set of Spotlight videos, released in the run-up to the report launch, members of the EMCDDA team share some of their highlights of this extraordinary year.