Pompidou Group - Co-operation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Drugs

Presidency of the Pompidou Group
A strong emphasis on prevention is the best investment

At the 16th Ministerial Conference, 19-20 November 2014, Norway was elected for the new Presidency of the Pompidou Group (2015-2018). The Vice-Presidency will be held by Italy. In her maiden speech, the new President of the Group, State Secretary for the Ministry of Health and Care Services, Mrs Astrid Nøklebye Heiberg, stressed the importance of drug prevention, in particular among youth, and the need to tackle new drug trends such as new psychoactive substances.

Mrs Heiberg said that there “are no indications that the availability of drugs will decline” and countries will “face new ways of distribution” that call for strong international cooperation. Norway also announced during the conference that they would support internally displaced Opiate Substitution Treatment patients in Ukraine with a voluntary contribution of 1.5 Million Norwegian Krona.

Mrs Astrid Nøklebye Heiberg used to be the President of the Norwegian Red Cross from 1993 to 1999 and President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from 1997 to 2001. Mrs. Heiberg was vice-chairwoman of the Conservative Party from 1990 to 1991 and member of the Norwegian Parliament from 1985 to 1989. The Vice-Presidency will be represented by Mrs. Patrizia de Rose, General Manager of the Department of Antidrug Policies of Italy.

Italian Vice-Presidency calls for gender-oriented approach

Following the 16th Ministerial Conference of the Pompidou Group, Ms. Patrizia De Rose, General Manager of the Dipartimento per le Politiche Antidroga (DPA) is the Pompidou Group’s Vice-Presidency on behalf of Italy. Next to Norway, which was elected for the Presidency, Italy aims to support proactively the Presidency in its role of pursuing the Pompidou Group mission according to the new 2015-2018 Work Programme.

During the 16th Ministerial Conference, Ms. De Rose underlined the importance of implementing international cooperation projects in order to face the transnational threat posed by the complex drug phenomenon. Italy identified a gender-oriented approach as an integral part of international policies and presented the Pompidou Group study on the Non-Medical Use of Prescription Drugs (NMPUD), which was launched and financed by Italy. It is the first study on his subject carried out in the Mediterranean Region and in Europe.

As a member country of MedNET since 2007, Italy has been supporting several cooperation projects in Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia. Recently, MedNET organised several successful round tables on drug policy development which were followed by the production of country profiles on drug trends and policies in seven countries. In 2015, Italy will pursue its commitment towards the MedNET with the holding of round tables on national drug observatories.

Ms De Rose, who was the Head of the Italian Gender Equality Department from 2011 to 2013 has taken over the direction of the DPA in 2014. In this function she has demonstrated a solid willingness to embrace a wide and evidence-based approach to drug-related issues and policies. With its coordinated and multidisciplinary strategic approach to evidence-based policies, the Vice-Presidency is expected to support jointly with Norway the Pompidou Group Secretariat in the implementation of the new 2015-2018 Pompidou Group Work Programme while ensuring its gender dimension.

Norway elected for Presidency of the Pompidou Group

Ministers and Heads of Delegations elected Norway for the 2015-2018 Presidency of the Pompidou Group represented by Secretary of State from Norway Mrs Astrid Nøklebye Heiberg and Italy, represented by Mrs Patrizia de Rose Head of Technical Scientific and General Affairs Office Department for Anti-Drug Policies, for the Vice-Presidency at the 16th Ministerial Conference which took place in Strasbourg on 19-20 November. Moreover, the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, congratulated Minister Malden Ćavar on Bosnia-Herzegovina joining the Pompidou Group and becoming the 37th Member State. Another highlight was the announcement of the three winning youth organisations of the European Drug Prevention Prize from France, Portugal and Croatia.