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1st Annual Conference COPOLAD II. June, The Netherlands.
Dear participants, colleagues and friends,

Ten months have passed since we started the second phase of the programme at COPOLAD’s Executive and Coordination Body (ECB). A short and very intense period in which, once more, we have felt the support and the enthusiastic involvement of countries and institutions –and most importantly, of each person– without whose participation COPOLAD would not be possible. Thus, thanks to all of you who give us renewed strength to keep on working.
1st Annual Meeting with National Drugs Observatories. December, Jamaica.
We have had many satisfactions throughout 2016, the first of all to welcome the fifteen Caribbean countries that have joined the Programme, and second –but not less important– to ascertain the strength and enthusiasm in the task of continuing going forward, that you transmit to us; those who already took part in the first phase (2011-2015) as much as those who now are willing to join us until 2019. Thanks to your synergy, we dare to continue in our quest to provide our small contribution to the huge task of optimising the approach to drug-related problems in an increasingly effective way and −therefore− more sensible to the needs of people who, in various and, in some occasions in very dramatic ways, are affected by different drugs-related circumstances.
COPOLAD Side Event at UNGASS 2016.
We are very aware that COPOLAD is being implemented in a privileged historical moment with great relevance for the advancement of drugs policies in the world. As has been highlighted in UNGASS 2016, it is principally the countries in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), who, considering the accumulated experience of almost half a century of applying predominantly punitive and repressive policies –more focused on drugs than on people−, are now rigorously exploring new models which allow the incorporation of respect to human rights, gender equality, the public health approach, and the consolidation of democratic institutions as unwavering axes upon which to sustain drugs policies. All these approaches are in line with the model that has been tested throughout the last decades in the European Union Member States countries and endorsed at supranational level, as stated in current EU Drugs Strategy (2013-20).
1st Week on Precursors. November, Spain.
Therefore, in the CELAC as much as in the EU, many countries already count on a large experience in this field, which provides us with growing evidence about the impact of different adopted options. Fostering dialogue and confluent policies between the EU and CELAC is not an end in itself, but a key instrument to contribute to the strengthening of societies in which each person, young or adult, can develop his or her life in the freest possible way from pressure to use drugs, at the same time that people who suffer from drug-related problems can receive a humanitarian treatment, as well as quality health and social care services. The consolidation of States in which democratic institutions are not threatened by sectoral interests outside of the common good, has therefore become a priority axis. Going forward towards these goals is not easy, neither within each country nor at the supranational level.

This is the reason why, parting from the compromise that we acquired when taking charge of COPOLAD II, and considering the always modest reach of a programme, we aspire to be able to enable sustainable and reachable progresses with your key contributions.
1st Intra-regional Dialogue Forum on Alternative Development. December, Colombia.
With this “0” number of BITS COPOLAD, we want to launch a new frequent communication instrument that, until the end of the programme, will briefly inform on the activities carried out at COPOLAD, in addition to referencing and facilitating the identification of information and relevant news for all countries and institutions that make this programme possible.
 
With this tool, COPOLAD will count with a new communication and exchange instrument, open to all countries, which will facilitate –along with other communication and capacity-building opportunities– the achievement of the programme’s goals, especially, the reinforcement of National Observatories on drugs; the adoption of quality and evidence based criteria, both in Demand and Supply Reduction strategies; as well as the adoption of sustainable approaches to capacity-building and bi-regional exchange of good practices and lessons learned; and last but not least, provide as much support as possible to the EU-CELAC Coordination and Cooperation Mechanism on Drugs as a key instrument for dialogue and progress on public drugs policies in both regions.

On behalf of all of us, at he ECB, I take this opportunity to share with you our best wishes for health, inner peace and joy during these Holiday Season and throughout the year 2017 that is about to begin.
 
Yours faithfully,
 
Teresa Salvador-Llivina
Director
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BITS COPOLAD does not include opinion articles. The contents are selected based on criteria of objectivity, timeliness and proportionality. The inclusion of a content in BITS COPOLAD does not mean the ratification or identification with it. The COPOLAD Program is not responsible, in any case, for positions or statements made by third parties.
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The Execution and Coordination Body of COPOLAD (ECB-COPOLAD) is not responsible for the content or reliability of any of the resources referenced in BITS-COPOLAD (events, website, publications or other tools). In all cases, the opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the institutions that sustain them, their participants or their authors; therefore, they neither reflect the positioning of the COPOLAD Consortium nor that of the European Commission. Considering that respect for the environment is one of the core values of COPOLAD, the Consortium is committed to organize its activities taking its impact on the environment into account, particularly regarding CO2 emissions. As such, virtual communication techniques are prioritized and the use of recyclable material is recommended, to the extent possible, during the implementation of the Programme.
 
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