The Last Stop to a Joint European Advocacy Strategy

In January 2024, the BOOST Project hosted a two-day meeting in Amsterdam to finalize the development of a Joint European Advocacy Strategy for comprehensive access to HIV, HCV and TB services for people who use drugs.

The meeting gathered representatives from four central organizations in the harm reduction and drug use landscape in Europe: Correlation – the European Harm Reduction Network (C-EHRN), the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA), the European Network of People who Use Drugs (EuroNPUD), and the Drug Policy Network South East Europe (DPNSEE). 
Since early 2023, these four organizations have worked together to develop a unique unified European Advocacy Strategy, to work towards the access to HIV, HCV and TB services for people who use drugs. The extension and cohesion of this collaboration is unprecedented, and will therefore lead to an unpresented result: the first ever jointly developed European Strategy advocating for the rights of people who use drugs. 


This is so much more than only a document. Building on the consultation of 100 experts and network members it has been a truly participatory process, taking into account the regional differences and needs in Europe. It is a commitment of the four European Community Networks – C-EHRN, EHRA, EuroNPUD and DPNSEE – to strategize and combine their advocacy efforts in the forthcoming five years. This will help us to increase our impact at policy level and make a difference.”

– Katrin Schiffer, Director of C-EHRN

 The road to Amsterdam: Dialogue Meetings and Consultation Sessions

During the last few months, the BOOST project has developed online dialogues and consultation meetings with networks’ members and experts in the field to gather relevant information required to develop an effective Joint Advocacy Strategy.

A total of eight dialogue meetings with almost 100 participants have allowed for the identification of common and region-specific factors impacting harm reduction services. Following, two consultation sessions were held during the Steering Committee and Advisory Board of EHRA in November 2023 in Bratislava (Slovakia), and during the annual meeting of CEHRA in December 2023 in Budapest (Hungary). In these consultation sessions, key findings from online dialogues were presented and deliberated upon. As a result, participating members of each network identified European harm reduction advocacy priorities.

Overall, these activities were the starting point in the identification of key strategic priorities and actionable objectives for the upcoming years, to be considered for the Joint Advocacy Strategy.

Amsterdam: the Development of a European Advocacy Strategy Meeting

The meeting hosted in Amsterdam is the pinnacle representation of the key to a successful unified advocacy strategy: the combination of efforts to maximize impact. Upon said initial identification of relevant priorities and objectives, the meeting aimed to refine them and establish the definite grounds of the Joint European Advocacy Strategy In those lines, the first objective of the meeting was to establish clear regional European priorities impacting harm reduction servicesparticularly emphasising on four main areas: political will, community-driven initiatives, access to services, and universal health care. These priorities were established through four working group discussions focused on each of four main areas.

Following, a session to determine specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives of the Joint Strategy was hold for each priority area, reflecting the collective input from diverse regional perspectives. Participants worked on the drafting of SMART objectives in breakout groups to refine them.

Thirdly, participants worked together to identify stakeholders, decision-makers, allies and advocacy targets relevant for the predefined advocacy objectives, resulting in the formulation of a comprehensive map and strategic stakeholder engagement plan. 

What is next?

After working collaboratively for over a year, in the upcoming weeks, the four main harm reduction and drug use organisations in Europe will present the Joint European Advocacy Strategy for comprehensive access to HIV, HCV and TB services for people who use drugs. The development of this strategy has highlighted the importance of joining efforts and expertise, and sharing an aligned determination to attain, not only relevant and quality results, but highly impactful outcomes. 

Stay tuned…. The best is yet to come!