Future development and analysis of the past: EHRA held the first Steering Committee meeting

On 13-14 February, the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) held an annual meeting of the Steering Committee in Vilnius (Lithuania). This meeting has a particular importance, since it was the first one in the history of the organization.

What’s more, a great significance of this meeting is the new membership of the Steering Committee – according to the results of the regional online meeting in January 2018, the new representatives are elected in the Baltic countries (Jurgita Poškevičiūtė), Belarus-Ukraine-Moldova (Vitalii Lavryk), Central Asia (Oxana Ibragimova), Central Europe (David Pešek), South-Eastern Europe (Yuliya Georgieva) regions.

“I’m honored to be elected. For me this is an opportunity to engage in regional processes more actively. Especially concerning the issues of harm reduction and drug policy in those European countries who are EU member states and formally considered high income Northern countries (such as Lithuania and other Baltic states) but whose HIV epidemiological situation and a pitifully poor access to health and social services for people who use drugs is much more similar to the Eastern Europe and Central Asia,” says Jurgita Poškevičiūtė, Director of Administration  “I Can Live Coalition” (Vilnius, Lithuania) and the new elected member of the Steering Committee representing Baltic countries region.

The two-day meeting is based on the analysis and results of the Association’s work in 2017 (financial and program reporting), further perspective of organization’s activity, discussions of the management processes and operational management of the EHRA’s Secretariat. As a result, the Committee extended the powers of Leonid Vlasenko as Chairman and Nino Tsereteli as co-chair until August 2018. In 2018, there will be re-elections of several more members of the Steering Committee, including from the community of people who use drugs. The terms of reference for the Treasurer was approved as well as the Regulations of the Advisory Board – two new governance bodies for organization. The Treasurer will monitor the financial health of the Association, and the Advisory Board, composed of high-level international experts, will help to advance the Association’s interests and objectives at the regional and international levels. Jurgita Poškevičiūtė was chosen as The Treasurer of the Steering Committee, and as for the members of the Advisory Board, they will have to be invited from all over the world.

There are lots of plans for EHRA in 2018 – participation in international conferences and various committees and groups. But the main thing now is the work on a multi-country application to the Global Fund in consortium with other regional communities networks and participation in the call for proposals.