The CSFD mandate is renewed in 2021 and the CSFD now consists of 43 different CSOs, active in the field of drug demand reduction. The 2021 CSFD Plenary Meeting was organised on 6 and 7 October as a virtual session. It was attended by members of the CSFD, and representatives of the EC - DG Home and DG Sante.
An important element during this session was the adoption of the new Working Group Structure and the election of the new CSFD Core Group, consisting of the Chair, the Vice Chair and the four Working Group Coordinators.
The new core group consists of:
Laurène Collard - Chair
"I am happy to renew my commitment in chairing this amazingly diverse and productive forum, and ready to face with our new representatives of the Core group the upcoming challenges in strengthening Civil Society’s meaningfull involvement. The previous forums built a strong and quite exemplary structure to make sure CSOs are heard, and the value of the forum is recognized and its contributions are very real ; making our gathered NGOs real stakeholders in Drug Policy’s framing and implementation throughout Europe. This mandate will have to keep that perspective, and endure."
Katrin Prins-Schiffer - Vice Chair
"Thanks to the CSFD Project funding, the past year has been full of activities. However, once the project funding ends in only a few months, we must rely on our resources and commitment. As vice-chair, I will support the chair and other core group members. I will also ensure secretariat support to the CSFD, meaning the maintenance and update of the CSFD website and the internal and external communication flow. I, therefore, hope that you will continue sharing your valuable ideas and thoughts so that we can fulfil our essential role as the Civil Society Forum on Drugs."
Iga Kender-Jeziorska - Chair, WG1: European Drug Policy
"During the upcoming CSFD term, I hope we can continue to contribute to the improvement of the implementation of the EU Drug Strategy and Action Plan in the Member States, and further improve our relationships with the European Commission and other relevant stakeholders."
Adria Cots Fernandez - Chair, WG2: International Drug Policy
"I hope that WG2 will continue to be a useful partner of the EU external action in drug policies – bringing a clear focus on public health, human rights, and civil society and community participation."
Peter Sarosi - Chair, WG3: Linkage to National Drug Policy
"I have been working in drug policy since 2003 and have broad experience in coordinating international projects. As the chair of WG3, I aim to effectively coordinate future work following the Forum's extensive knowledge gained from developing the Quality Standards of Civil Society Involvement report and survey."
Milutin Milosecvic - Chair, WG4: Emerging Issues in Drug Policy
"The issue of drugs is complex and ever changing. I hope that we shall be attentive to emerging and cross-cutting issues that are of importance for people who use drugs and their societies around Europe and try to offer solutions to address them."
The four working groups had the opportunity to meet and discuss issues to be addressed in the forthcoming period; more information on this in the coming months.
Lack of funding
Throughout the years, the CSFD has tried to receive structural funding from the EC. Internal EC regulations allow only the coverage of travel and hotel costs during CSFD plenary meetings. In light of this, a dedicated and mandated group of CSFD members applied for funding in the EC Justice - Drug Policy Initiative Programme in 2016 and 2018. Both grants were awarded and enabled the CSFD to expand its work. These two rounds of funding have been instrumental for the CSFD to become a prominent player in the drug policy debate at EU-level and build strong ties with EU institutions.
Unfortunately, the latest proposal sent to the EC for a grant covering the period 2022-2023 was rejected. This means that beyond February 2022, the CSFD will have to continue operating without any funding. This is deeply problematic. Without secretariat support and funding for the core group and the activities in the Working Groups, activities and impact of the CSFD will be limited.
The CSFD is now discussing alternative ways for funding and has reached out as well to different EU Member States for support. More info on that will follow.