MedNET is the Mediterranean network for co-operation on drugs and addictions of the Pompidou Group. It promotes co-operation, exchange and mutual transfer of knowledge between countries from both sides of the Mediterranean, respecting human rights and gender equality.
It was created in 2006, after a feasibility study carried out at the initiative of France and the Netherlands. The group was assessed positively and has developed ever since, geographically and thematically, to promote effective and appropriate answers to addictions.
The network celebrated its 10 years in Rabat in 2016.
At the moment, the network consists of seventeen countries: 10 Pompidou Group members (Cyprus, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Switzerland, Turkey) and 7 non-members (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine*, Spain, Tunisia).
The European Commission and the European Monitoring Centre for drugs and drugs addictions (EMCDDA) participate as observers to the meetings.
Discussion on human rights and drug policy
In May 2020, MedNET published the first overview document on human rights and people who use drugs in 17 MedNET countries. Among the topics covered are the consideration of drug use as a disease when developing drug policy, the right of access to care and treatment as a fundamental right for people who use drugs, the implementation of evidence-based prevention practices and health strategies, the fight against stigma and the needed adaptation of the legal framework to integrate a human rights approach.
This publication is the outcome of a first discussion within the MedNET Committee with the objectives of gaining a better understanding of the meaning of human rights in drug policy and exchanging best practices and ideas on this subject.
The discussion was initiated following the November 2018 ‘Stavanger Declaration’ adopted at the Pompidou Group’s Ministerial Conference which reaffirms a focus on “human rights as a fundamental cornerstone in drug policy”, in line with the Council of Europe’s core mission.
Long term objective
The long-term objective of MedNET is to promote the elaboration and implementation of coherent policies on addictive behaviours, based on scientifically validated knowledge.
All projects submitted by the participating countries will have to be developed and implemented with a special focus on human rights, and taking into account gender equality.
Priority shall be given to the following topics:
- Prevention of addictive behaviours
- Promotion of the collection of reliable, objective and comparable data, and creation of or support to national observatories
- Development of national balanced strategies
- Socio-sanitary health care of addictive behaviours; risk and harm reduction
- Law enforcement and fight against drug trafficking
- Training and research
Functioning of the network
Accession to MedNET presupposes a voluntary commitment and a mutual interest. Any Mediterranean country and any country interested in this co-operation can become a member. To join the network, the Minister responsible for drug policy shall send a commitment letter to the Pompidou Group’s Executive Secretary and shall appoint a national representative with the authority to commit on behalf of his/her government.
The positions of Chair and Vice-Chair are held during a period of one year alternately by a Northern Mediterranean country and a Southern Mediterranean country. In order to ensure the continuity of work, the Vice-Chair is expected to take over the position of Chair the following year. The election is by consensus.
The Secretariat of the Pompidou Group is responsible for the implementation of the work programme and the smooth operation of the network, whilst ensuring synergy between other working groups of the Pompidou Group and other Council of Europe’s entities.
It manages the MedNET budget, made up of voluntary contributions from Pompidou Group member countries and other sources of funding (Council of Europe, European Commission, etc.).
The Steering Committee made up of the representatives of the participating countries meets at least once a year to adopt the work programme based on projects submitted by each country, to review the implementation of on-going projects and to discuss future activities
The EMCDDA participates in the steering committee and shares its expertise in particular concerning data collection and analysis and the support to national observatories.
MedNET facilitates the recognition, diffusion and adaptation of good practices and experiences which had proved successful in partnership with other key national and international actors working in the region. Thus, participating countries, through their representatives, share and exchange knowledge and know-how, by providing the network with scientifically validated knowledge in all relevant fields.
They are committed to alert competent national authorities on the actions led by MedNET.
The implemented national and regional projects are presented in the annual activity report.
The overall work of the MedNET network is subject to a regular and thorough evaluation.
Participating countries are committed to contributing to the MedNET budget, financially or by making available their resources, in order to ensure project implementation.
Each project is funded in part by the requesting country, through a financial or an in-kind contribution.
*This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of Council of Europe member States on this issue.