MedNET, the Mediterranean network for co-operation on drugs and addictions of the Pompidou Group, promotes cooperation, exchange and mutual transfer of knowledge between countries on both sides of the Mediterranean (North-South and South-North exchanges), as well as among Mediterranean countries (South-South exchanges).
Ten Years of MedNET
On 30 November 2016, the MedNET network celebrated its tenth anniversary in Rabat, Morocco.
A number of publications have been produced to mark the occasion, recounting the history of the network over the last ten years, and focusing on how the drug situation has evolved in the six countries on the southern rim of the network: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia.
A series of papers on the impact of the network has also been published. It includes a report presenting the network's added value, the results of a survey of the MedNET participants, and a timeline representing the highlights of the network.
The anniversary of MedNET was also an opportunity to welcome two new members, Palestine and Turkey, and celebrate the continued success of the network, whose budget has increased tenfold since its creation.
The event was followed by the Fifth International Francophone Conference on 'Opioid Dependence Treatment: TDOs at the meeting point of science and human rights'.
Long term objectives
The objective of MedNET is to promote cooperation and mutual exchange of knowledge between Mediterranean countries (North-South and South-North) and within Mediterranean countries (South-South), in particular through:
- developing and implementing coherent and balanced policies on drugs which respect human rights and incorporate the gender dimension, and are based on evidence collected by national observatories
- improving public health and implementing drug policies in the region while respecting human rights and the needs expressed by the countries
- strengthening the political and democratic process in the region by promoting the right to health of drug users and supporting the necessary legislative reforms.
Creation and development
The Pompidou Group started its activities in the Mediterranean region in Malta in 1999 with a conference on ‘cooperation in the Mediterranean region on drug use’.
Following this conference, the magnitude of the drug problem in Algeria, Morocco and Lebanon was studied for the first time in the region as part of the ‘Mediterranean School Survey Project on Alcohol and other drugs in Schools’ (MedSPAD). This project provides an overview of drug use among young people in schools in the Mediterranean region and their attitudes towards drugs.
In 2006, at the initiative of France and the Netherlands, the Mediterranean Network (MedNET) was created with the participation of Algeria, Morocco, Malta and Tunisia and the commitment of the Pompidou Group to coordinate and manage the network. It was created for a period of one year, at the end of which its smooth functioning was recognised. The network has continued its activities ever since. MedNET’s activities are undergoing constant development and are helping promote effective and appropriate responses to drug use through exchange of good practices and regional cooperation in the fields of research on the situation of drug use, prevention, addiction care and treatment, and implementation of the law.
Since 2012, MedNET has worked in partnership with the South Programme, which is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Council of Europe in order to strengthen democratic reform in the Southern neighbourhood. The South II Programme is continuing in 2015-2017 under the heading ‘Towards strengthened democratic governance in the Southern Mediterranean’.
Functioning of the network
In each country, the ministry in charge of drug issues designates a national representative authorised to act on behalf of the government.
The representatives of the 15 countries (Algeria, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Tunisia, Turkey and Palestine) meet twice a year.
During the Spring meeting, the Committee of MedNET Correspondents reviews the programme’s implementation in the first half of that year. The programme can be adjusted in light of current events and emerging priorities in the different countries.
During the Autumn meeting, the committee adopts an activity report for that year and the programme for the following year on the basis of activity proposals made by each country and on the basis of regional activities. The programme is adopted by consensus on the basis of the available budget for the year.
The network’s flexible functioning allows it to respond rapidly to new demands.
Activity report: communication and transparency results
The network publishes an activity report each year.