8th Conference Cooperation and Community Consensus : 2nd workshop - Bristol (UK), January 18/19, 2001

Who we are   

The ECDP association regards itself as a modern network with members jointly and democratically defining innovative strategies and carrying out common activities in the spirit of our basic political document, the Frankfurt Resolution(1990) and the Declaration of the ECDP, passed in May, 1998 at the 7th General Assembly of the association in Frankfurt am Main.

ECDP Members are cities and regions affected by drug trafficking, drug consumption and the resulting problems. In our network, all local bodies that are concerned with these problems cooperate in the development of feasible strategies in drug policy.

drug policy making
law enforcement and judiciary system
drug coordinators
helping system / public health system
prevention / school

Drug problems are crystallising, above all, in major cities, producing the whole pallet of subsequent problems to a specifically intensive extent. Approaching these problems solely by conventional strategies of repressive, therapeutic, or preventive measures have led us to borders that cannot be crossed without the development and implementation of innovative - and sometimes unconventional policies.

Moreover, it happens rather frequently that national or international drug legislation and guidelines prove to be instruments unsuited for the development of pragmatic approaches at communal level. Therefore, we observe a clear discrepancy between international conventions, their realisation at governmental level, and local solutions. In this respect, we had to recognise that we are unable to delegate the problem to the governments of the states. Instead, we are being called to develop local strategies in collaboration and exchange with other cities and regions. This is what induced us to create the association in 1990.

To become a member of ECDP, a city has to have a local council decision supporting the official adherence to the Frankfurt Resolution (1990) or the Declaration of the ECDP, the active membership within the organisation, as well as the annual membership contribution to the association of 0.01 ECU per inhabitant of the community.

The Bodies of the ECDP

The ECDP Board of Members
Political representatives of the member cities.
The members decide on the general strategies and activities of the ECDP.

The ECDP Board of Spokespersons
Representatives of at least 5 member cities that are elected by the Board of Members for
  a period of 2 years.
The spokespersons represent the ECDP towards other organisations and conduct
  the activities decided by the members.

The ECDP Coordination Bureau
The central office of the ECDP where all activities are coordinated and organised.
The Coordination Bureau is the contact for all requests concerning the ECDP.

The ECDP Structure shows ECDP's bodies and their functions
What we want   

The common work of the ECDP is based upon the concept of harm reduction in the field of drug control. We seek to use the power of government and social leaders in a constructive attempt to reduce the harm caused by the inevitable presence of drugs in modern society. The cities of the Frankfurt Resolution promote a coordinated approach to treatment and enforcement because it proved to have a major effect on curbing AIDS and drug-related crime. To strengthen the impact of this cause, the ECDP actively cooperate and exchange experiences with regard to drug policy and offer their expertise to other communities and organisations.

We believe that the policy of prohibition marginalises consumers, forcing them to secrecy and creating risky conditions for consumption. Even worse, it creates a situation where the large profits made in illegal drug trafficking justify risks and unresponsible behaviour of the supplier toward the consumer. But what is probably most important: prohibition drives drug users away from help instead of opening a door back into society. It has therefore become evident that repression against addicts themselves cannot contribute anything to improve the situation. That's why repression in our member cities is specifically keyed to combating drug trafficking.

The harm reduction policy approach is aimed at offering aid in places where it is needed, reducing harm that can not yet or no longer be cured (palliative therapy). The main objective aimed at by this overall strategy is to keep as low as possible any harm - not only for people using drugs, but also for the population in general.

"At communal level, we are to adapt drug policies to the social, political, and cultural circumstances, orienting ourselves by the actual conditions in our cities and not by wishful
thinking. Only a constant dialogue on the various approaches in drug policy enables the municipalities to develop their own feasible strategies for their communities. We know there
is no simple solution to solve our problems, but we have develop pragmatic and unbiased management strategies to face and tackle the reality in our communities."

(Norbert Vöhringer, mayor of the city of Karlsruhe in his presentation of the ECDP at a hearing on European drug policies held by the European Parliament in December 1996)

The objectives of the ECDP:
Experience exchange on strategies in local drug policy
Presentation and discussion of new approaches and projects
Cooperation towards a harmonisation of local strategies in drug policy
Information exchange and know-how-transfer between all bodies concerned
with drug related problems

The most important tasks of the ECDP are the exchange of experience, information, data and experts and the cooperation between the members towards the development of local strategies in drug policy. The results of this cooperation are introduced to national and international governments and bodies.

The political aims of the ECDP are laid down in the Frankfurt Resolution that was passed by the cities Amsterdam, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg and Zürich on the occasion of the 1st Conference "European Cities at the Centre of Illegal Trade in Drugs" in November 1990 in Frankfurt a.M. and in the Declaration of the European Cities on Drug Policy that was passed by the ECDP cities at the 7th General Assembly of the Board of Members on May 28, 1998, in Frankfurt am Main. The Declaration of the ECDP is based on the policy of the Frankfurt Resolution as well as on the experience of our eight years of cooperation within the association.

What we do   

The ECDP conduct the following common activities:

annual cities conferences
regular exchange of experience and information
exchange of experts and field workers (Know-how-transfer)
compilation and distribution of work reports etc. in form of publications
discussion of our experience in national and international bodies
continuous expansion of the cooperation network

In 1997/98, the ECDP has established the following services to make the expertise of the association easily accessible and to help local authorities find the right experts in various drug related fields, information material or projects to visit. Our offers address mainly local authorities, but NGOs, and private persons are also invited to make use of the services we provide.

Drug Policy Consulting
Information Research
ECDP Archives
Information Mailing List
Expert Pool
Study Visits

A variety of publications about our organisation, our members, our aims and activities can be obtained at the ECDP Coordination Bureau in various languages.

European Cities on Drug Policy
responsible editor: Susanne Schardt
webmaster: Thomas Benner