"Harm Reduction Works – Fund It!”: summarizing the results and achievements of the Regional Program

12 June 2017

As the three-year Regional Program “Harm Reduction Works – Fund It!” draws to a close, EHRN is to hold the fourth and final meeting of the Regional Technical Advisory Group (RTAG) in Druskininkai (Lithuania) on 13-14 June. Among the participants are representatives of international and regional groups, agencies, UN donors, civil and state organizations and representatives of PWUD communities, as well as members of the EHRN Secretariat.

Established in July 2013, the advisory body has provided technical support to the EHRN Steering Committee for four years in order to issue guidelines on how to achieve the Program’s objectives. "The RTAG always acted as a sounding board, letting us hear the results of the work done by a huge team from the project countries and the EHRN team, compared to both national trends and needs, and in combination with other regional initiatives. In fact, this is a key tool for coordinating this project. It was the RTAG decisions that allowed us to adjust the Program every year, making it flexible and responsive to the changing political environment in the region. We are grateful to the RTAG experts for their help and commitment to the goals set," – says Anna Dovbakh, EHRN executive director.

This year the RTAG meeting and its outcome are extremely important, as it takes place in the final year of the Regional Program. Among the key tasks, organizers and participants highlighted the review and analysis of the results achieved, assessing the impact of the Program in EECA countries, the prospects for sustainable financing of harm reduction advocacy. Particular attention will be paid to discussing the strategic objectives of the Global Fund and their impact on the region in the context of grants and further cooperation.

"The fourth and final meeting of the Regional Technical Advisory Group will be indicative in many aspects. It will affect not only the development of guidelines to ensuring the sustainability of the results achieved in the countries. The program has been extended to the end of 2017, which means the assessment and setting priorities for the whole period, including possible interactions with other initiatives and partners, are on the agenda. It should be noted that a number of problems still remain and we very much hope that the newly-elected RTAG members will be able to use their experience in the search for solutions. They will also be represented in the framework of this working meeting." – says Lela Serebryakova, EHRN's “Harm Reduction Works – Fund It!” program manager.

The regional program “Harm Reduction Works – Fund It!“ started on April 1st, 2014 and is being implemented in six countries (Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Moldova and Tajikistan) with the support of the Global Fund. The Program is aimed at reducing the spread of the HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia through intensified efforts to advocate for harm reduction.