EMCDDA Director Wolfgang Götz and the Georgian Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani are meeting in Tbilisi today to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The agreement, between the agency and the Ministry of Justice, will boost cooperation between the two bodies in monitoring the drugs problem and facilitate the collection, processing and dissemination of information (1).
Georgia — a country of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) area — submitted a formal request for cooperation with the EMCDDA in 2014. This led to a green light from the EMCDDA Management Board in December 2014 for the agreement to be negotiated and, in September 2015, for it to be signed.
Today’s accord — signed for an initial period of five years — will be implemented through a joint work programme to be updated every three years. The programme will include steps to enhance the partners’ monitoring and knowledge base on the drug situation and responses to it, particularly through harmonising key indicators in areas of supply and demand. Special attention will be given to the regular exchange of information on the emergence and use of new psychotropic substances, as well as the technologies employed in their production.
The MoU provides for the: exchange of technical expertise and knowledge between the two institutions; co-sponsoring of technical meetings; and pooling of human and financial resources to launch joint programmes. The Ministry of Justice will endeavour to present to the EMCDDA an annual report on the drug situation in Georgia, while the agency will facilitate training and the exchange of experts and research findings on issues of mutual interest.
The two organisations recognise that information on the drug phenomenon is an essential and indispensable instrument for drafting and implementing drug policies and for assessing the impact of actions to reduce problems originating from drug use and trafficking.
This agreement takes place within the EMCDDA’s mandate for cooperation with third (non-EU) countries in consultation with its Management Board and the European Commission (2). It is the fifth MoU to be signed with a country of the European Neighbourhood Policy area: agreements already exist with Armenia, Israel, Moldova and Ukraine.