New phase of collaboration between the EMCDDA and the Ukrainian Ministry of Health

This month sees the start of a new phase of collaboration between the EMCDDA and Ukraine following the signing of a Working Arrangement between the agency and the Ukrainian Ministry of Health. The signatories of the agreement were EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel and Ukrainian Minister of Health Viktor Liashko. Exchanging expertise, experience and methodology in drug monitoring will be at the heart of the collaboration.

The agreement updates and replaces the former Memorandum of Understanding between the EMCDDA and Ukraine signed in January 2010, following institutional developments. The state agency now responsible for monitoring the drug and alcohol situation at national level is the Institute of Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatric Examination and Drug Monitoring of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health.

In a communication to the EMCDDA on 24 January, the Ukrainian Embassy in Portugal notified the agency that the document had been signed by the Minister of Health on 27 December 2022. The EMCDDA acknowledges the exceptional dedication and perseverance of its Ukrainian partners in continuing cooperation despite the country being at war since February 2022.

The new arrangement allows for cooperation in collecting, processing, summarising and analysing information on the drug and alcohol situation at national level and will help enhance the comparability of drug data between Ukraine and the EU.

The two parties have agreed to foster collaboration in the following areas:

  • Exchange on methodology of data-collection systems and on data itself (demand and demand reduction, supply and supply reduction, legal aspects and policy models)
  • Exchange of expertise and of data on new psychoactive substances (NPS), as well as on the establishment of a national early warning system on drugs
  • Exchange of experiences on health and social responses to drug problems – above all prevention of communicable diseases, harm reduction, social integration and integrated care for addicts.

Ukraine is a priority partner country within the European Neighbourhood Policy region and is a member of the Eastern Partnership (1). As such, the country participates in the EU4Monitoring Drugs (EU4MD) project, which is now entering its second phase.

The working arrangement was endorsed by the EMCDDA Management Board in December 2018, following consultation with the European Commission. It takes place within the agency’s mandate for cooperation with third (non-EU) countries (2) and will be implemented through a joint work programme. The information obtained through the new working arrangement will provide both parties with valuable new insights on Europe’s drugs problem and contribute to their ongoing strategic goals.