Consortium of networks: a partnership for real change

21 February 2017

Representatives of seven leading international and regional harm reduction, drug policy and drug user networks met in London last week to coordinate joint efforts in harm reduction approaches, human rights protection and drug policy reform.

This annual meeting of the Consortium has become one more practical step towards strengthening the cooperation between civil society organizations in support of non-repressive drug policy and legal environment for people who use drugs (PWUD).

"The work of the Consortium is very valuable and gives an ability to feel the heartbeat of international drug policy. Especially with such partners as the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), Harm Reduction International (HRI), Youth Network "Youth RISE", the Middle East and North Africa Harm Reduction Association (MENAHRA), the European Network of People who Use Drugs (EuroNPUD), and the Eurasian Network of People who Use Drugs (ENPUD)," – says Olga Belyaeva Program Manager of EHRN and participant at the meeting.

Summing up the work of the Consortium in 2016, the participants of the meeting emphasized the role of EHRN’s project implemented together with ENPUD "From Street to Government". In 2016, street lawyers from 8 countries found and documented 176 cases of violence against rights of people who use drugs. These cases will serve as evidence for future advocacy changes towards decriminalization of drug use and the rights of 3 million PWUD of the Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia region.

2017 promises to be full of events and activities. Activities of the Consortium will focus on closer cooperation and support for the regional networks and PWUD community as well as advocacy drug policy reform at the regional and international level. In 2017, such activities for civil society will be implemented through grants, the extension of the project "From Street to Government", Regional Conference Harm Reduction "Harm Reduction in the New Environment" (to be held on 4-6 April 2017, Vilnius) and other conferences, analytical overviews, trainings, research and technical assistance for the PWUD community networks.

The project "Strengthening Civil Society Advocacy for Critical Enablers of the HIV Response for People Who Use Drugs" is supported by Robert Carr civil society Networks Fund.