June 4, 2020. The Cooperation Programme for Latin America, the Caribbean (CELAC) and the European Union (EU) in Drugs Polices, COPOLAD II, successfully closed its activities, after four and a half years of work, in a virtual call that brought together all of its 33 beneficiary countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, member countries of the European Union and supranational organizations and regional and multilateral agencies that are members of its Consortium, in addition to the EU institutions that have participated in the programme. COPOLAD II, a programme financed by the European Commission and managed by the International and International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP),thus closes its second phase, which began in January 2016 and ends this June 2020.
In order to give a space to the countries participating in COPOLAD II to share their impressions on the activities developed during this time, and as a result of the continuous evaluation maintained from the beginning before the European Commission, more than 200 actors involved in different key areas for drug policies from 45 countries of CELAC and the EU were invited to participate in this meeting, which was inaugurated by the Director of the FIIAPP, Anna Terrón, the Government Delegate for the National Plan on Drugs (DGPNSD) of Spain, Azucena Martí, and the Head of Sector of EuropeAid/DEVCO-European Commission, Ramón Espinosa, who highlighted the outstanding progress of the programme and the achievements made during this time, which is why the European Union is calling for a third phase of COPOLAD to begin in 2021.
Objectives achieved by COPOLAD II and a special look at the situation in Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries in times of COVID-19
Country and institutional interventions and farewell to the Director of COPOLAD
In the turn of the countries' interventions, the following took the floor: Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, Portugal, Venezuela, Germany, DG Home, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, El Salvador, Jamaica, Uruguay, Czech Republic, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Romania, Barbados, Panama, Spain (CITCO-Ministry of the Interior), Ecuador, Paraguay, Haiti, RIOD, Grenada, Bolivia and Peru. Likewise, Guyana, Honduras, Dominica, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Belize expressed their gratitude.
The Caribbean countries expressed their sincere appreciation to the COPOLAD team: "without you the programme would not have been a success", stressing in general that "the collaboration of all other international organizations has increased the level of synergy in drug demand reduction efforts". Others expressed that "we appreciate the focus on collaboration, as COPOLAD worked closely with our hemispheric partners in OAS/CICAD and CARICOM, which contributed to the success of this project, which has provided a platform for Caribbean countries to work more closely together, especially in the areas of drug demand reduction.
Countries and European institutions participated in this final round of considerations, closing this closing activity with great success, which has also meant the farewell of the Director of COPOLAD, Teresa Salvador-Llivina, who is leaving the direction of the programme after almost 10 years of dedicated commitment and work, a task recognised by all the participants in this meeting.