IHRA’s 22nd International Harm Reduction Conference will take place in Beirut, Lebanon, from 3-7 April 2011.

About the conference

Although harm reduction has been adopted in policy and practice in more countries than ever before, significant gaps remain in the response. The coverage of harm reduction programmes, and the capacity of civil society to respond to harm reduction issues, remains low in much of the world. In many countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), for example, harm reduction is still a new or emerging concept. For this reason, the building of skills and capacity of civil society organisations in harm reduction implementation and advocacy will feature strongly in this year’s conference programme, and will include a dedicated stream of workshop and skills building sessions, designed specifically for participants from the MENA region.

Gaps in the response are not solely an issue in countries where harm reduction is new or emerging. Even in those in which harm reduction is well established, the development of specific policies and programmes to meet the needs of women and other vulnerable populations has often been neglected. This year’s conference will therefore also contain a strong focus on women, drug use and harm reduction, and provide a forum to highlight the needs of women who use drugs and other marginalised populations within the overall harm reduction response.

The programme will be created from the submitted abstracts in early December, and will be available for delegates to view from mid-January.

Conference objectives

  • To exchange knowledge about new scientific research and evidence on psychoactive drug use including alcohol and tobacco, drug related harms and the effectiveness of harm reduction interventions.
  • To involve a broad range of participants from the Middle East and North Africa and beyond including government officials, frontline workers, HIV/AIDS and drug user advocates, people working in criminal justice, human rights advocates, law enforcement personnel, researchers and scientists.
  • To enhance advocacy in the Middle East and North Africa internationally for harm reduction
  • To enable the transfer of harm reduction knowledge and sharing of best practices
  • To raise awareness of human rights issues related to psychoactive drug use and harm reduction

Abstract submission

The International Harm Reduction Association would like to encourage all delegates who wish to present at the conference – either orally or with a poster – to make submissions. The registration system, where you can submit your abstract, is now open.  Please click here to access the registration system. For more information on abstracts, please click here.

The deadline for abstract submission is 5th November 2010.