Now when we are full of holiday excitement, the only feeling which EHRA team has towards our partners is deep gratefulness for your support! Being registered in spring and having started active operations in September, we already have a lot to be proud of.
By the end of the year Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) unites 185 members from all CEECA countries. For the Association, the main task is to build proper governance processes to involve members into content discussion and decision making.
On 27th of November the first General Meeting of EHRA members was successfully completed. As a result, we have the Steering Committee representing all sub-regions, supported by all voting EHRA members. The in-person Steering Committee meeting will be held in February 2018.
The Statute of EHRA was updated by the decision of the General Meeting, and now the governance structure includes in line with the General and Regional Meetings and the Steering Committee, an Advisory Board and a Treasurer to ensure the transparency and sustainability of the organisation.
The General Meeting also approved EHRA strategic framework for 2018-2019. Full scale strategic planning process is planned for the second part of 2019. Mission of EHRA is defined as the creation of favourable environment for sustainable harm reduction programs and decent lives of people who use drugs in CEECA region.
We have ambitious strategic objectives:
SO1: To ensure sustainability and efficiency of harm reduction services in CEECA region;
SO2: To advocate for non-punitive drug policies in CEECA region based on public health and human rights;
SO3: To develop leadership and expertise of civil society and people who use drugs in monitoring of drug policies, financing, access and quality of harm reduction services in CEECA region;
SO4: To strengthen organizational governance and operational systems, program efficiency and financial sustainability of EHRA.
EHRA is now implementing 9 advocacy, regional coordination and community capacity projects with a 1,5 mln Euro budget, 450K of which were received in 2017. We are grateful to our partners from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, AFEW International, Open Society Foundations, Robert Carr civil society Networks Fund, Rights Reporter Foundation, International Network of People Who Use Drugs, Levi Strauss Foundation, who have supported building capacities of the Association and helped to start-up the operations and program activities in a rather crisis situation.
During this period EHRA has already supported 8 drug users community groups and civil society organisations through small grants program. We are proud to support work of DUNews, unique video advocacy initiative. For regional community of people who use drugs, a study-tour visit to Porto to examine effective alternatives to punishment and to discuss drug policy reforms in EECA countries organised by EHRA, was a very important step in learning and joining efforts.
For the Association, it is strategically important to provide platform for joint advocacy efforts of different civil society organizations and regional communities aimed at ensuring sustainable funding of services for drug users. Since December 2017 EHRA has started to work as a Regional CRG platform to coordinate technical support for communities in the region. We have already played an active role as regional civil society representatives in the Senior Level Policy Dialogue “Addressing HIV and TB Challenges: from Donor Support to Sustainable Health Systems”, conducted under the auspices of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and participate in the work of the EU Civil society forum on HIV, TB, Hepatitis core group.
Since November we already have a fully functioning office with necessary equipment and 13 full-time Secretariat staff members. Operational procedures, accounting system and all documents are already in place.
These all have become possible only because of cooperation and active work of the Steering Committee members, Secretariat staff who worked for two months as volunteers to start EHRA operation, and thanks to support of civil society colleagues and partners all around the Globe. This year has proved that we are very strong and together we can overcome any challenges.
The EHRA Steering Committee and Secretariat team are ready for 2018 in full power! We are working to ensure a voice of the CEECA region in AIDS2018 in Amsterdam is heard. We are looking forward to work together with key regional community networks in joint advocacy efforts and capacity building initiatives.
Looking forward to our bright partnerships in 2018!
EHRA Steering Committee and Secretariat