On 12 August, ENCODs Steering Committee sent the following letter to Carel Edwards, head of the EU Anti-Drugs Unit, concerning the status of the so-called “European Action on Drugs”
As a result, the SC members had a meeting with Timo Jetsu, NGO liaison officer at the Anti Drugs Unit in Brussels on Thursday 3 September.
The report of this meeting is ready, but we are
currently waiting for an answer from the Commission to confirm that it
does not contain any misunderstandings or misinterpretations. The report
will be published as soon as possible.
12 August 2009
Dear Mr. Edwards
We write to you as members of the Steering Committee of the European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies, ENCOD, on the issue of the possible participation of our organisation in the European Action on Drugs. The SC of ENCOD was renewed during our General Assembly in June this year.
As you know, ENCOD was formed in 1993 following the request of the European Commission to organise a platform of European NGOs working in the drug field, in order to coordinate the feedback from civil society organisations to the development and elaboration of a common EU drug policy. For many years, ENCOD was the only actor involved in efforts to obtain a serious dialogue between citizens and policy makers in this field on a European level. Our organisation played a crucial role in the establishment of the dialogue process that finally led to the Civil Society Forum on Drug Policy in the EU in the end of 2007.
We have been informed of the new initiative of the European Commission called the “European Action on Drugs” and are currently considering to take part in this initiative.
As we understand it, the EAD-proposal does not follow logically from the preceding discussions and deliberations in the CSF, and we have not had an adequate response to our earlier criticism on this issue.
Also, it seems that the scope of EAD’s activities will be restricted to treatment, prevention and information. If so, the EAD will be a diversion (of both time and money) from the most important goal of the involvement of NGOs in the development of EU drug policy, namely to discuss ways to improve drug policy and its impact on the daily lives of drug users, their surroundings, and society in general.
Treatment, prevention and information are important activities, but there is no shortage of organizations working in those fields, often with ample funding and friendly contacts with governments. But how are we going to regulate the drug markets in the future? That is the core issue of the drug policy debate, which nevertheless does not seem to form part of the EAD.
Also we demand ourselves what will be the future role of the Civil Society Forum, once the EAD is established.
For this reason we would like to ask you for a personal meeting with us, the Steering Committee of ENCOD, if possible on Friday 4 September in Brussels, or eventually the day before, Thursday 3 September.
Many thanks for your answer.
Fredrick Polak, President of Steering Committee, ENCOD
Marisa Felicissimo, Secretary
Jorge Roque, Member
Antonio Escobar, Member