Training Session of the Pompidou Group

‘Incorporating gender dimensions in drug policy practice and service delivery’ was the theme of the Pompidou Group’s last training session in Amsterdam

Pompidou Group

The Pompidou Group is the Council of Europe’s drug policy cooperation platform

The Pompidou Group is an inter-governmental body established in 1971 at the initiative of the then French President Georges Pompidou. It upholds the core values of the Council of Europe – human rights, democracy and the rule of law – and promotes a balanced approach in the response to drug use and illicit trafficking, supporting both demand and supply reduction.

Every year, training sessions are conducted for managers involved in the development or implementation of drug policies.

This year, 30 participants from 20 countries attended the first module of the 2019 Pompidou Group executive training session on ‘Incorporating gender dimensions in drug policy practice and service delivery’, organised on 2-5 April 2019 in Amsterdam. The majority of participants were representatives of governmental or other institutions and organizations responsible for developing and/or implementing drug policies and/or for coordinating related programmes, delivery services and cooperation with stakeholders, while the remainder of participants came from a number of civil society organizations active in the field of drugs, as is the case of Dianova Portugal.

Dianova Portugal was represented by Marta Santos, in charge of human resources management and gender quality policies and procedures in Dianova Portugal. Her role is also to supervise the incorporation of a gender perspective in the organization’s addiction treatment programmes and services.

The Pompidou Group training session’s objective was to help addiction professionals to effectively integrate gender perspectives and dimensions into the various aspects of their work, from planning strategic tools, developing normative standards, designing and delivering thematic and regional programmes and working through the project cycle.

Gender mainstreaming has yet to become a reality in most interventions and programmes, although there is growing evidence that understanding gender dimensions and inequalities can help to improve the effectiveness of policy measures, to bring different perspectives, experiences and solutions to the issues. In addition, accumulating evidence indicates that drug abuse may begin and progress differently, have different consequences, and require different prevention and treatment approaches for women and men.

To adequately address these aspects the training incorporated gender dimensions in demand and harm reduction, as well as in supply reduction and law enforcement. In this three and a half days many topic were debated. The module gave insights into: controversies around the gender concept and theory; gender differences in drug related behaviours; Gender mainstreaming to improve law enforcement strategies against trafficking and organized crime; gender aspects in recruitment and training of law-enforcement staff; women in drug related crime; understanding the specific needs of women who use drugs in detention and creating opportunities inside and outside prison; and conceptual approaches to gender mainstreaming in Dutch drug policies. Participants also had the opportunity to know more about the history of drugs in Amsterdam and the Netherlands through the “Amsterdam Underground Tour” and to visit the Zaanstad Judicial Complex with its re-socialization programme for male inmates.

The Pompidou Group executive training’s second module will be held in Tel Aviv (Israel) on 24-27 June, 2019.