COPOLAD supports the development of guidelines to improve the research work of Drug Observatories in Latin America and the Caribbean, incorporating rights and gender perspectives
What institutional, human and financial resources do the Drug Observatories have to consolidate their national research and information systems? How to ensure that drug studies take into account the specific characteristics of women, men and gender diversity? What does it mean to include a rights-based approach in drug research?
These questions have guided the work of strengthening National Drug Observatories (NDOs) that the European cooperation programme on drugs, COPOLAD III, is carrying out with Latin American and Caribbean NDOs.
In this framework, a first objective achieved has been the elaboration of four conceptual and methodological guides for the NDOs to strengthen their role in the coordination and production of national research on drug problems, incorporating rights and gender perspectives. The contents of the guides were presented to all the NDOs at the Lisbon meeting last May and will be the reference for COPOLAD’s technical assistance to the NDOs in different lines of work.
The document addresses the conceptual definition of resource mapping and its objectives, a description of its functions, basic characteristics, requirements, operational mechanisms and other key areas. This section includes the main questions guiding the process and identification of stakeholders.
The guide addresses the importance of gender mainstreaming in drug research and information systems. It also compiles the regulations that promote gender mainstreaming in drug research and data production and reviews some methodological aspects of gender mainstreaming in drug information systems. Finally, it proposes possible new lines of research on drugs with a gender focus, suggesting relevant problems and possible methodological strategies for each of them.
Research priority setting is essential to improve drug policy, especially if legal and gender perspectives are incorporated into the definition of drug problems. By coordinating effectively and avoiding duplication of efforts, it optimises resources and ensures that research is relevant and effective. However, there are often gaps between research and policy, attributable to weaknesses in communication and a lack of connection between disciplines in drug policy.
This guide seeks to delve deeper into what the rights-based approach entails conceptually as well as what it entails to integrate it into drug policy in terms of research and data collection that can then support evidence for policy practice.