COPOLAD is coming to an end after four years of work on strengthening drug policies in Latin America
Conference of the Cooperation Programme between Latin America and the European Union on Drug Policies (COPOLAD)
The closing conference of the Cooperation Programme between Latin America and the European Union on Drug Policies (COPOLAD) was held today in Montevideo (Uruguay). This is a programme of the European Commission in which, over the past four years and with a budget of €6,500,000, every country in Latin America (LA) and the European Union (EU) has participated, with the objective of giving drug policies in Latin America greater consistency, balance and impact by improving bi-regional dialogue between the EU and LA. It has also worked to strengthen cooperation, training and the exchange of best practices between the public agencies responsible for these policies in each country.
At this conference, there was a presentation of the outcomes achieved through the multiple activities, consensus processes and working instruments developed over the past four years. All of this has made it possible to strengthen bi-regional dialogue for promoting evidence-based drug policies, respect for human rights, a public health approach, security, and attention to gender aspects and cultural idiosyncrasy. For example: coordination and strengthening of Latin American National Drug Observatories; strategies for supply reduction and money laundering; common accreditation criteria for prevention, care and reintegration programmes; continuing classroom and online training; the Ibero-American Library on Drugs and Drug Addictions (BIDA); among others.
In doing this, COPOLAD has built valuable bridges for coordination between the two regions based on the principle of shared responsibility that underpins the EU-CELAC Coordination and Cooperation Mechanism on Drugs, a platform for dialogue created by the two regions in 1999.
COPOLAD was wholly financed by EuropeAid (European Commission) and implemented by a consortium led by Spain through the Government Delegation for the National Plan on Drugs (DGPNSD) of the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, and the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP).
Closing in Montevideo
The conference was attended by 142 officials—at the highest level—from participating institutions from 37 countries in LA and the EU. The conference inauguration was presided over by Jean-Paul Joulià, Head of the Programme Unit for Latin America and the Caribbean of EuropeAid (European Commission); Luis Porto, Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry of Uruguay, the country currently occupying the co-presidency of the EU-CELAC Coordination and Cooperation Mechanism on Drugs on the ECLAC side; and Aiga Liepina, Director of International Affairs and Human Rights of Latvia, the country that occupies the co-presidency of this Mechanism on the EU side. The leading institutions of the programme were represented by their highest-ranking officials: Francisco de Asís Babín, Government Delegate for the National Plan on Drugs, and Pedro Flores, Director of the FIIAPP.
COPOLAD has also benefitted from the collaboration of key multilateral institutions in the area of drug actions: the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA); the Inter-American Commission for Drug Abuse Control (CICAD – OEA); and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), as well as two non-governmental networks with an extensive bi-regional presence: the Inter-American Network of NGOs Working in Drug Addiction (RIOD)and the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC).