The Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN) organised an interesting workshop on “What works: Budget advocacy for national investments in harm reduction” from 23 – 25 October 2016, in Budapest, Hungary.
The workshop was organized within the EC funded project “Harm reduction works! Improving funding for
harm reduction and HIV prevention in the EU” with co-funding from the Open Society Foundations.
The goal of the workshop was to provide a learning and planning space for national advocacy teams with
representatives of harm reduction NGOs from Lithuania, Hungary, Romania, Bosnia, Macedonia,
Montenegro and Serbia for greater domestic investments in harm reduction in their countries.
Objectives of the workshop were:
●To build knowledge on how to influence budgets at national and municipal levels;
●To re-assess the funding situation and the vision of the future budget needs and sources;
●To advance skills on planning advocacy tactics, adapting evidence-based arguments and work with
politicians and media;
●To explore possibilities for advocacy cooperation with other health, human rights and transparency
movements in the country and other related processes;
●To develop advocacy plans with milestones for 2 years and detailed planning for the next 8 months;
●To assess the needs for continuous capacity building and support from political and technical
partners and communication after the meeting.
Harm reduction services and HIV-related community systems strengthening is underfunded from national
budgets in a number of EU member states in Central Europe and their South-East European neighbours that are EU candidate or potential candidate countries. Besides, as a rule, EU member states are not eligible for donor support or development assistance other than provided by the EU itself. South Eastern Europe is being rapidly left by its main remaining donor of harm reduction and other HIV interventions among key populations, the Global Fund, without adequate commitment from local authorities.
In order to strategically influence national and local authorities to secure funding for unmet needs of key
populations, NGOs need to conduct so called budget advocacy, so as to better understand how to influence
budget processes and policies, and increase accountability mechanisms.
9 Drug Policy Network South East Europe member organisations from member 5 countries participated in
the workshop, along with the Executive director of the Network. It was an excellent opportunity to get to
know more about on-going projects and plans for the future, present the Network and get contacts for