Montenegro is a newly emerged sovereign state in Southeastern Europe. It declared independence on 3 June 2006 and in December 2010 was officially granted a candidate status for joining the European Union. The country does not have national-level estimates of the size of the population of people who inject drugs (PWID). Drug use and possession of small amounts of drugs for personal are not a criminal offence. The community of PWUD is actively involved in advocacy efforts and lobbying that aim to mobilize resources for harm reduction activities, which significantly decreased as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria grant ended in 2015. Since international funding for HIV prevention withdrew from Montenegro, harm reduction services have experienced severe consequences of crises of sustainability and political indifference. Financial support to harm reduction services in Montenegro is insufficient to meet the needs of PWID at least at the level of previous years.
The Republic of Bulgaria (Bulgaria) is a European Union (EU) country located in the eastern Balkans with a population of approximately 7.2 million people (as of 31 December 2015). The recent annual report of the Ministry of Health refers to 20,000–30,000 problem heroin users in the country. Heroin and methadone remain the main injected substances. At the same time, there is a growing use of amphetamines and highly addictive non-injecting drugs called ‘spices’. In Bulgaria drug use itself is not prosecuted; however, drug posession is penalized by high fines and/or imprisonment, depending on the substance group. Harm reduction programs in Bulgaria are highly dependent on international financial support currently provided through the Global Fund’s “Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS” program. Even though the Global Fund’s financial support for NSP ends in July 2016, a solution for this crisis still has not been found.
The Republic of Albania (Albania) is a non-European Union State located in Southern Europe. According to national statistics, the total population of the country was 2,886,026 people in January 2016. According to the latest available estimates, there are 3,710 people who inject drugs (PWID) in Albania. The legislative and policy environment in Albania appears relatively comprehensive. Drug use itself is not illegal. Possessing a ‘daily dose’ of drugs for personal use is not punished either. However, the country is lacking implementation and enforcement, which has a negative effect on PWID in terms of their human rights and access to harm reduction services. NSP services are not currently supported by the government. Only OST medication for limited number of patients is provided from domestic sources. Since the end of the Global Fund Round 5 grant in 2012, the Albanian government has failed to support the cost-effective functioning of the HIV and TB programs in the country, resulting in a deterioration of services over recent years. The fledgling harm reduction program nearly collapsed due to the absence of funding. Consequently, access to both NSPs and OST in Albania is poor. There is no information about active PWID community initiative groups or organizations in Albania.
With reductions in Global Fund support and lack of funding available from other donors, the EECA region now faces the challenge of raising domestic resources for these programs. The lack of transition and sustainability planning heightens the risk of countries losing the progress they have made over the last decade with Global Fund support. This case study examines the situation in Macedonia and makes recommendations to the Global Fund, national governments, civil society, and other donors for easing the transition and safeguarding previous gains in HIV prevention in Macedonia.
With reductions in Global Fund support and lack of funding available from other donors, the EECA region now faces the challenge of raising domestic resources for these programs. The lack of transition and sustainability planning heightens the risk of countries losing the progress they have made over the last decade with Global Fund support. This case study examines the situation in Albania and makes recommendations to the Global Fund, national governments, civil society, and other donors for easing the transition and safeguarding previous gains in HIV prevention in Albania.
As leaders of the HIV response gather in New York on June 8-10 for the 2016 High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, we have an opportunity to envision how the global HIV response will contribute to the achievement of the world’s new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Reversing the tide of HIV, TB and hepatitis C virus (HCV) in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA), where far less progress has been made so far than in other parts of the world will be essential in order to achieve the SDGs. "After the UNGASS on drugs failed to provide a strong leadership in reforming drug laws and scaling up harm reduction as a response to HIV, hepatitis C and overdose epidemics that devastate public health in our region, now it is up to the High Level Meeting on AIDS to show wisdom to the world. It is impossible to end AIDS by 2030 without facing the elephant in the room, that is, repressive drug policies." Peter Sarosi, ENRN RC co-chair
Since 1 April 2014 the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN) has been implementing the three-year Regional Program ‘Harm Reduction Works – Fund It!’, which receives financial support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund). The goal of the Regional Program is to strengthen advocacy by civil society, including people who use drugs (PWUD), for sufficient, strategic and sustainable investments in harm reduction as HIV prevention in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. An Oversight Committee (OC) established by the EHRN Steering Committee in 2014 oversees implementation of the Regional Program, including the use of financial resources, and provides recommendations for problem-solving and improving implementation. In February - March 2016 the fourth set of oversight visits was held. This report highlights the main conclusions and results of these visits
List of Amendments to the draft UNGASS Outcome Document (version released on February 25, 2016). Prepared by EHRN based on Joint Position Statement From EHRN and ENPUD for UNGASS on the World Drug Problem.
The main objective of country-level consultations is to provide an opportunity to discuss a joint position among the government institutions, public health, law enforcement and civil society stakeholders for the UNGASS 2016 on the World Drug Problem. This joint position can be reflected in country’s statements during the UNGASS 2016 on World Drug Problem, as well as the 59th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND).
DRAFT OUTCOME DOCUMENT (14 JANUARY 2016) UNGASS 2016: Our joint commitment in addressing the world drug problem prepared by the UNGASS Board for consideration by the CND