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Pike, Brigid (2007) Civil Society Forum on Drugs in the EU due to meet. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 24, Winter 2007 , p. 20.

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The first meeting of the Civil Society (CS) Forum on Drugs in the EU will take place in Brussels on 13 and 14 December 2007. Two Irish-based civil society organisations, and one Irish-based Europe-wide network, are among the 26 networks and organisations invited to participate: 

o      CityWide Drugs Crisis Campaign  www.citywide.ie

o      Drug Policy Action Group  http://idpc.net/profile/drug-policy-action-group-dpag

o      Eurad   

It is expected that at this preliminary meeting rules and procedures for the operation of the Forum will be discussed and agreed between the European Commission and CS representatives. 

A report published earlier this year by the Commission1 outlined the direction and shape that the Commission envisages for this Forum.  In the report the Commission proposed the following mission statement: 

The Civil Society Forum on Drugs will serve as a platform for informal exchanges of views

and information between the Commission and civil society organisations in the EU, candidate

countries and, as appropriate, European Neighbourhood Policy countries. The aim is to increase informal consultation and the input of civil society on drug-related activities, policy proposals, policy implementation and priorities of the EU Drugs Strategy and the EU Action Plan on Drugs. 

The Commission proposed that the Forum should take full account of the six main conclusions from the open consultation on the Green Paper on the role of civil society in drugs policy in the EU: 

  1. The Forum should represent a wide spectrum of views in a balanced way.
  2. The Forum should be inclusive rather than exclusive, with transparent selection criteria.
  3. The Forum should have a clear mandate, well defined agendas, transparent procedures and achievable work plans with real input into the policymaking process.
  4. The Forum should be able to ensure continuity of the work and at the same time be flexible enough to adapt to changing CS and policy challenges.
  5. The Forum should have adequate financial and human resources.
  6. Thematic networks could be organised as subgroups of the Forum or separately.

 Membership criteria for the Forum were proposed as follows: 

  1. The organisation has to correspond to the concept of civil society as set out in the Green Paper.
  2. The organisation has to have its main base of operation in an EU member state or a candidate country. Organisations from European Neighbourhood Policy countries may also participate, when appropriate.
  3. Priority will be given to those organisations that are established in the form of transnational networks covering a number of member states and/or candidate countries.
  4. The organisation has to have drug-related activities as the core focus of it activities.
  5. Credibility: The organisation should have a clear track record of its activity.
  6. Representativeness: The organisation should be recognised as being able to speak on behalf of those it claims to represent.
  7. The organisation must be legal and registered in a member state or candidate country.
  8. Membership of the organisation must be open to those that meet transparent criteria and the organisation must be financially accountable. 

Finally, the Commission recommended that membership should be for a period of two years, and renewable, to ensure both flexibility and continuity. The maximum size of the Forum should be 30 members. 

1. Report on the results of the open consultation: Green Paper on the role of civil society in drugs policy in the European Union. (COM (2006) 316 final). European Commission, Brussels, 18 April 2007. For more information on the Green Paper, see Pike B (2006) Civil society to have role in EU drugs policy. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 19: 19–20.

Item Type
Article
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Issue Title
Issue 24, Winter 2007
Date
October 2007
Page Range
p. 20
Publisher
Health Research Board
Volume
Issue 24, Winter 2007
EndNote
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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