Photo: Ministry of Interior
High level representatives of the institutions in charge of drugs policies from the EU Member States, Latin America and the Caribbean gathered in Sofia on 19-20 June for the 3rd COPOLAD II Annual Conference. The event, which was co-organised by the Ministry of Interior, addressed the topic ‘Women and drug policy. Progress and challenges in the implementation of the gender approach and the empowerment of women as a cross-cutting matter’. The conference was part of the calendar of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
The delegates reviewed the progress made in recognising the need to incorporate the gender approach across all areas of drug policies. They concluded that the programmes and initiatives undertaken in the last five years reflect the progress in this area. However, the specificities of drug-related problems between women and men need further exploration in view of the effectiveness of the responses.
The participants stressed the importance of including the gender perspective in the full range of drug policy areas like prevention, treatment, harm reduction, rehabilitation, social and work insertion, and supply control.
The discussions during the event were also focused on the aspects that are most important when implementing evidence-based drug policies and programmes. The participants emphasised the need of more research into the different ways women are involved with drugs and the harms they suffer in view of incorporating the gender-related vulnerabilities, such as stigma and discrimination, in programming as they represent important factors affecting their lives.
COPOLAD II is an EU-funded cooperation programme between the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) with important developments, achievements and serious impact over the global drug policy. It is currently in its second phase. The first phase (2011-2015) included the Latin American countries; 15 Caribbean countries have joined the programme in this second phase (2016-2019). COPOLAD is led by Spain through the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP).