Skills and learning in focus as 2023 Reitox week begins

Representatives from a record 80 countries will be joining members of the EMCDDA this week (22–26 May) for the agency’s eleventh Reitox week. The purpose of this annual event is to provide a platform for the Reitox network and the agency’s international partners to share success stories and challenges in the drugs field and to facilitate the exchange of ideas and collaborative partnerships. In the context of the European Year of Skills, the focus this year will be on empowering through upskilling and learning.

The 2023 Reitox week will gather participants from: 29 Reitox NFPs (EU 27, Türkiye and Norway); six partners of the Western Balkans (beneficiaries of the European Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance — IPA8); 12 European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) partners participating under the EU4Monitoring Drugs II (EU4MD II) and EMCDDA4Georgia (EMCDDA4GE) projects, five representatives from the Central Asia region (CADAP 7 project) and Switzerland. Also taking part in the meeting, for the first time, will be 27 representatives from the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries participating in the COPOLAD III programme.

23rd May: Extended Reitox network meeting This meeting will gather all of the participants (29 Reitox NFPs and the 51 representatives of the agency’s key partners). The event aims to foster an exchange of ‘know-how’ and experience on practical and thematic issues. The theme of this year’s session is ‘Empowering through learning: professionals in the field of drugs and people who use drugs — #EuropeanYearOfSkills’. The event will feature presentations from keynote speakers on mental health and drugs, data on the labour market and on training for professionals. Several participants from EU and non-EU countries (Italy, Ireland, Georgia, Türkiye and North Macedonia) will share their experiences and best practice regarding the implementation of training. The last session will focus on projects offering upskilling opportunities to drug users by showcasing successful projects from various countries (Croatia, Portugal, Chile and Panama).

24–26 May: 68th Heads of Reitox national focal point meeting — The regular Heads of focal point meeting will focus on the joint EMCDDA–NFP network business. Topics featured on the agenda are: the implementation of the new agency mandate and EMCDDA activities in the areas of health and security.

The week will also encompass international cooperation events:

22 May: IPA8 project coordination meeting — The objective of this first coordination meeting is to introduce the EMCDDA–IPA8 project to the IPA beneficiaries and to discuss and agree on future activities to be implemented under the project. Following a more detailed overview of the health and security related aspects of the four-year project, each IPA beneficiary will be asked to present their current opportunities and challenges to further cooperate with the agency. A specific session will be dedicated to the crucial role and tasks of the IPA national correspondents to ensure a smooth implementation of all project-related national activities between 2023 and 2026.

22 May: EU4MD II project coordination meeting — This half-day EMCDDA-EU4MD II meeting will be dedicated to discussing the collection and reporting of drug supply data. Following a short introduction into supply data collection at the EMCDDA, European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) region partners will be invited to exchange views on key drug-related threats, developments in drug markets and the systems in place to collect and report supply-related information.

22–26 May: Meeting of the LAC National Drug Observatories — Representatives of National Drug Observatories (NDOs) from Latin America and the Caribbean will convene in Lisbon to exchange knowledge on drug policies in the EU and LAC countries, to reflect on best practices in this area and to discuss challenges and needs in the region.