Jamie Bridge is a Bedford-based harm reduction professional and the Chief Operating Officer at the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC). We interviewed him on the occasion of the end of his term as the chair of the Vienna NGO Committee – an organisation that links NGOs and the Vienna-based agencies involved in setting drug policy.
I always admired Jamie for his diplomatic skills – he was a perfect match for the VNGOC chair position. Although he has a strong position on drug policy issues, he has the ability to seek and find (some) consensus even with those who are on the other side.
The VNGOC, an organisation created in 1983 to coordinate the work of civil society and facilitate relationships with the UN drug control system, has a geographically and ideologically diverse membership, where it is not easy to find a common voice. Jamie, who was elected as a chair in 2018, helped the organisation to navigate through an especially turbulent period with multiple barriers, such as those generated by the COVID-19 pandemic or the anti-NGO sentiments of some autocratic countries.
Despite these difficulties, he has done a great job to make Vienna less hostile to civil society.