YODA is moving onwards and upwards with an ever-increasing international presence.

 

Last week, our very own Iga was elected for a 2nd term to the Civil Society Forum on Drugs ensuring the youth voice is represented in EU level drug policy processes.

What is the CSFD about?

„The Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSF) is a broad platform for a structured dialogue between the Commission and the European civil society which supports policy formulation and implementation through practical advice.”

The forum is a space for civil society, those who work on the ground, directly with the populations affected by drug policies, to engage in the EU level drug policy-making process. Having good civil society representation ensures that the voices of those who are most affected are heard at the highest levels. Often there can be a disconnect between policymakers and the consequences of their actions. They have little to no clue about the realities of how their policies affect people. A good connection between policymakers and civil society is a step towards a better, bottom-up, people-centred approach which sees the people have a greater role in shaping the policies that affect them.

What went down at the CFSD?

Here are some key points on what happened from Iga:

  • YODA selected for a 2nd term – only organization focused specifically on youth
  • Harm reduction FTW! Though there is no official organisations list yet, it seems that this time there is even greater domination of harm reduction-oriented NGOs than before.

 

Day 1: More funding needed for EU drug policy and presentation of Working Group (WG) achievements.

 

  • Quite a lot of attention was devoted to new Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027, mainly in the context of Brexit (losing net contributor) and political developments in Europe (illiberal turn); we discussed the need for increased advocacy efforts aiming to raise awareness about the importance of having EU drug policy and need for funding it.
  • Working groups presented reports on their work in the previous term (2017-2018).
  • Voting on working groups resulted in a decision that all previous WGs remain working (Workgroup on the EU Action Plan on Drugs, Workgroup on Relations with International Institutions, Workgroup on Engagement with National Policies, Workgroup on Minimum Quality Standards in Demand Reduction)
  • Elections of Chairs:
    • Laurene Collard from Fédération Addiction – CSF Chair
    • Thanasis Apostolou from Association Diogenis – Vice-Chair of CSF
    • Iga Kender-Jeziorska from YODA – Chair of WG on EU Action Plan (<– YE BOIII!! :D)
    • Marie Nougier from IDPC – Chair of WG on International Relations (also, major big ups to the fabulous Marie from IDPC)
    • Katrin Schiffer from Correlation – Chair of WG on Engagement with National Policies
    • Matej Kosir from Institute for Research and Development “Utrip” – Chair of WG on Minimum Quality Standards

 

Day 2: Future plans for CSFD

 

  • Work in working groups to develop plans for the next CSF term (2018-2020)
  • Reporting the plans to the Forum and European Commission
  • WG on EU Action plan future plans- Making sure drug policy matters:
    • Autumn/winter 2018/2019: Dissemination of a research report on implementation of EU Action Plan 2013-2016
    • Information campaign addressed to NGOs in EU member states about Action Plan; dissemination of an info package on using Action Plan as an advocacy tool
    • Early 2019: Campaign addressed to European MPs and candidates about importance of EU Drug Strategy and Action Plan (in relation to European Parliament elections in May 2019)
    • Preparations for evaluation of Drug Strategy 2013-2020 and Action Plan 2017-2020
  • WG on EU Action Plan members: Iga Kender-Jeziorska, YODA (Chair), Moritz Konradi – European Forum for Urban Security (International Network), Mireia Ventura – Asociación Bienestar y Desarrollo (Spain), Susanna Ronconi – Forum Droghe (Italy), Joana CanêdoApdes (Portugal), Camille Spire – AIDES (France), Paweł Kowalewicz – Polish Drug Policy Network (Poland), Péter Sarosi – Rights Reporter Foundation (Hungary)
  • After CSF: Informal meeting of the Core Group (CSF Chair and Vice-Chair, chairs of WGs) with Austrian Presidency (which took over on 1st July) to discuss future cooperation
  • Next Plenary: early November 2018 à meeting with European HIV/AIDS Civil Society Forum is a key objective (Expanding and reaching out to other forums whose issues intersect with drugs is super important in building cooperation. This progressive approach acknowledges the comlexity of the challenges faced and  deals with the issues in a comprehensive and effective way, KUDOS!)

We are very excited to be making such progress and will keep you informed.

If you are a young person and want to talk with YODA on how the issues you see in your community need to be better addressed by policymakers, PLEASE GET IN TOUCH! We are here for you.

Learn more:

Reports from CSFD can be found here

The European commision approach towards better inclusion of civil society in policy making process