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                    28 Scientific Committee meeting               14-15 February 2008

              Pousada de Palmela

                       List of participants (Annex 1)

1. Welcome by the Director

Wolfgang Götz welcomed all members of the EMCDDA Scientific Committee, especially those who had not
been members of the former Committee. He explained that this meeting was organised in a different setting
(Pousada de Palmela) to promote a closer interaction amongst members, as this was the first meeting of the
Scientific Committee under the new EMCDDA Regulation. Future meetings will take place at the EMCDDA’s
premises. He thanked the members for their interest in the work of the EMCDDA and commented on the high
scientific level of all those who applied.

Wolfgang Götz further explained that the main objective of this meeting was to create a common understanding
of the EMCDDA’s mandate and tasks, and of the role of the Scientific Committee. Concerning the procedure for
the election of a Chair and Vice-Chair, the Director asked that members wishing to apply, or who would like to
suggest a candidate, should let Margareta Nilson know before the start of the meeting the next day.

Finally, Wolfgang Götz suggested that Henk Garretsen, as Chair of the outgoing Scientific Committee, could
chair the meeting until a new chair was elected. All members agreed to this suggestion.

2. Roundtable presentation of participants

Henk Garretsen welcomed all participants and expressed his appreciation for the high-level composition of the
new Scientific Committee. He invited all members of the Scientific Committee and the EMCDDA staff to
introduce themselves, their background and main interests.
3. Adoption of the agenda

The agenda was unanimously adopted.

4. Role of the Scientific Committee

Wolfgang Götz explained the procedure used for selecting the new Scientific Committee and presented its
mission, roles and tasks (Annex 2). He briefly presented the conclusions from the recent external evaluation of
the EMCDDA concerning the Scientific Committee (available on the EMCDDA’s public website).

5. EMCDDA Scientific Committee – point of view of former Chair

Henk Garretsen presented his personal notes on his experience as a member of the former Scientific
Committee (Annex 3). A debate followed on the interests and expectations regarding the work of the Scientific
Committee and its future role.

Several members said that Scientific Committee members should communicate among themselves more often
and maintain a more active relationship with the EMCDDA. They felt the Committee should be more closely
involved in the work of the EMCDDA, namely in quality control and outputs. To this end, the Scientific
Committee needs to be involved early on, and not only at the end of processes. Nevertheless, it is also
important to prioritise work so as not to overload members. Fernando Rodriguez de Fonseca proposed that the
Scientific Committee could have a more informal meeting prior to the regular meetings, to address topics of
interest to its members.

Wolfgang Götz suggested that the second meeting of the new Scientific Committee should focus on the next
three-year work programme, providing direct input on the strategic guidelines of the EMCDDA for the future.
This suggestion was welcomed by the members.

Several proposals were made concerning the information that should be available on the Internet: Gerhard
Bühringer suggested that the declaration of conflict of interest (Annex 10) should be available on the
EMCDDA’s public website, while several other members proposed providing a brief profile of each member, as
this would help reinforce the credibility of the Scientific Committee and the EMCDDA. Longer CVs could then
be posted on the Scientific Committee’s Extranet.

John Strang and Fernando Rodriguez de Fonseca reflected on optimising data and information available at the
EMCDDA for scientific projects and publications, while Henri Bergeron and Marina Davoli proposed that
research needs in this area should be assessed and mapped by the Scientific Committee and the EMCDDA so
that a reference document could be prepared and possibly made available to the Horizontal Drugs Group at the

For Paul Griffiths and Roland Simon, the Scientific Committee is a resource for generating ideas, which should
indeed be involved as early as possible, especially concerning the three-year work programme. However, they
warned against some suggestions that came up in the past which showed a lack of understanding of the
objectives, time constraints and resources of the EMCDDA and were, therefore, not practical. Michael Farrell
suggested that the EMCDDA could also use the Scientific Committee to offset some of the less practical

    All meeting documents referred to in these minutes are available on the Scientific Committee Extranet
demands placed on it, which do not contribute to the quality of its work. Finally, Björn Hibell stressed the
importance of project managers at the EMCDDA being aware that the Scientific Committee is a resource that is
also available to them and that they should use it.

6. Presentation of the EMCDDA’s mandate and work

Wolfgang Götz presented the EMCDDA’s mandate and work (Annex 4) focusing on the EMCDDA Regulation,
the European Union Drugs Strategy and Action Plan on Drugs and the EMCDDA’s priorities and principles.

The floor was then opened to comments and Gerhard Bühringer asked the Director if new resources had been
made available to the EMCDDA to face its new areas of work, namely best practice and the problems related to
polydrug use. The Director explained that in 2007 the EMCDDA obtained 5 additional posts and a budget
increase of 8% to cope with enlargement (BG and RO) and the new areas of work. In 2008 and 2009, the
EMCDDA will not receive any additional posts as the expected additional financial resources will be earmarked
for the new premises and removal costs. Fernando Rodriguez de Fonseca wanted to know how the Scientific
Committee could help the EMCDDA with the work on best practice and which were the priorities in that area.
Roland Simon explained that the best practice portal will start with prevention and will then move to treatment
and, possibly, rehabilitation and after-care. He suggested that the members of the Scientific Committee could
continue to act as advisors on the best practice concept and portal contents, as common European
understandings need to be reached. On this topic, John Strang warned about a “safe areas” approach and
suggested considering also more controversial practices, suggesting that it might be more useful to have a
limited number of guidelines on a larger number of fields. Marina Davoli warned against duplication of work.

Henri Bergeron emphasised that from a political point of view, it is important for the EMCDDA to inform policy
makers, at Horizontal Drugs Group level for instance, and that this should be taken into account when selecting
priorities and approaches. Michael Farrell stressed the importance of the role of the Scientific Committee as an
external observer capable of a more detached and a questioning approach

7. Scientific activities of the EMCDDA in the context of its work programme

The heads of the EMCDDA’s scientific units , Paul Griffiths and Roland Simon, presented the Agency’s
scientific activities (Annex 5) with an emphasis on the current work programmes (2007-2009 and 2008) and the
annual reporting cycle. Challenges for the future and outputs of the 2008 work programme were also
presented, as well as expectations from the scientific units concerning the role of the Scientific Committee.

8. Council Decision on the information exchange, risk-assessment and control of new psychoactive

Roumen Sedefov presented the Council Decision on the information exchange, risk-assessment and control of
new psychoactive substances and the guidelines for the risk assessment exercise (Annex 6) which is a formal
task of the Scientific Committee.

Members discussed the scope of this exercise and Dirk Korf suggested that the EMCDDA should think of
alternative forms of control that could be added to the current possibilities. Roumen Sedefov explained that this
is beyond the EMCDDA’s mandate. A revision of the legislation can be initiated by the Commission; the
EMCDDA is consistently informing them about experiences implementing the Council Decision.

9. Methods and tools

       REITOX network

Sandrine Sleiman presented how the EMCDDA works with the REITOX network, including collaborative efforts
on quality assessment (Annex 7).

Brice de Ruyver commented on the huge difference in the quality of information submitted by different
countries, which is sometimes due to a lack of support from national authorities. He suggested that the
Scientific Committee should further discuss this topic and support the work of National Focal Points. Several
members agreed on the importance of this discussion. Wolfgang Götz confirmed that the Scientific Committee
could play a role in this and suggested that it could adopt quality guidelines and have them endorsed by the
EMCDDA’s Management Board.

Henk Garretsen concluded that this topic should be further discussed at one of the Scientific Committee’s next
meetings and asked the EMCDDA to prepare a document with items to be addressed during the discussion,
such as minimum requirements and possible Scientific Committee input.

       Communication and publications

Rosemary de Sousa presented the state of play concerning the EMCDDA’s communication strategy, key
audiences and outputs (Annex 8).

Henri Bergeron wanted to know why some of the Selected issues were being published before summer and
Rosemary de Sousa explained that the EMCDDA wanted to give them a higher profile, as sometimes important
issues do not receive enough attention when they are published at the same time as the Annual Report.

Björn Hibell wanted to know the state of play concerning the Selected issue on drug-related research and Maria
Moreira reported that all but 4 countries had sent in their chapter for that Selected issue and that the
information is currently being analysed and looks promising.

       Scientific partners and documentation

Margareta Nilson and Maria Moreira presented the framework and role of the SCD unit (Annex 9), as well as
the new Scientific Committee Extranet. Logins and passwords were distributed to the members.

10. Adoption of the Scientific Committee rules of procedure

Margareta Nilson presented the draft rules of procedure of the Scientific Committee (Annex 10). The document
was unanimously approved.

11. Election of the Scientific Committee Chair and Vice-Chair

Margareta Nilson announced that two candidates were standing for Chair of the Scientific Committee: Henk
Garretsen and Michael Farrell. Wolfgang Götz suggested that the doyen of the Scientific Committee, Jean-Pol
Tassin, should chair the meeting for this item as Henk Garretsen was standing as a candidate for Chair.

This suggestion was unanimously accepted. Both candidates presented their reasons to run and then a secret
vote took place.

Eleven members were present in the room at election time, as Dirk Korf had to leave earlier. Margareta Nilson
and Zsuzsanna Németh collected and counted the votes. The result was: 4 votes for Henk Garretsen and 7
votes for Michael Farrell. As 7 votes do not constitute 2/3 of the members present, as required in the rules of
procedure, a second round was needed. Before the second round took place, Henk Garretsen stepped down
and Michael Farrell was elected the new Chair of the Scientific Committee for a three-year period, by show of
hands with 11 votes.

The Scientific Committee then proceeded to vote for the post of Vice-Chair. The only candidate was Marina
Davoli who was elected Vice-Chair of the Scientific Committee for a three-year period, by show of hands with
10 votes.

Michael Farrell thanked the members for his election and particularly thanked Henk Garretsen for his previous
work as Chair of the Scientific Committee.

12. Scientific Committee strategy and work plan

Michael Farrell opened the floor, asking Scientific Committee members to comment on the previous day’s
presentations and present ideas for the future tasks of the Scientific Committee.

A discussion followed during which several proposals were put forward. It was agreed that input on the three-
year work programme should be a priority. As this document has to be ready by April 2009, this must be
discussed at the next Scientific Committee meeting. The Scientific Committee also agreed on its mission
statement and endorsed its formal roles (Annex 2).

Gerhard Bühringer and Björn Hibell suggested that a summary of main tasks would be helpful and asked the
EMCDDA to draft two lists: one with the formal tasks and other main tasks which have to be addressed by all
members and the other with more specific, individual and time-limited ones. These lists should be as detailed
as possible and include deadlines. They should be published on the new Scientific Committee Extranet. It was
agreed that Michael Farrell and Marina Davoli will meet with Margareta Nilson after the meeting and draft a
proposal with a division of priority tasks among Scientific Committee members. This list will then be circulated.

Michael Farrell further encouraged members to read the complete report of the EMCDDA’s recent external
evaluation (available at http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/html.cfm/index46161EN.html) and to reflect on the
Scientific Committee’s strategic objectives. Fernando Rodriguez de Fonseca suggested drafting a work plan
document for the Scientific Committee. Jean-Pol Tassin remarked that the Committee should be involved in the
conceptualisation stage of the EMCDDA’s major outputs and John Strang reminded that members should not
monitor the EMCDDA’s daily tasks, but rather offer support and advice at certain key/strategic stages.

Paul Griffiths and Roland Simon suggested concrete areas for collaboration including cross-unit projects in
areas that are currently at a conceptual stage (supply reduction and polydrug use, for instance), the upcoming
scientific Monograph on harm reduction and future Selected issues. Advice on how to strike a balance between
the new areas and ongoing work would also be very helpful. Paul Griffiths reminded the members that
comments on the Annual Report are most helpful, but they can only be considered if sent within a set deadline.

Henri Bergeron wished to consider ways for the Scientific Committee to influence the drafting of the next
European Union Action Plan on Drugs. Paul Griffiths explained that, at this stage, the contribution of the
EMCDDA is quite limited as most of the contributions are documents which are only being updated. The
Scientific Committee could give input on those documents and on the drafting of the new Action Plan, but
deadlines are very tight. An independent communication of the Scientific Committee to the Horizontal Drugs
Group could also be a possibility.

Wolfgang Götz encouraged the members of the Scientific Committee to be proactive in communicating to him
any strategic thoughts they might have.

13. Any other business

Maria Moreira informed those present that the provisional dates for the EMCDDA’s 2009 Conference are 25 -
27 March 2009.

The next meeting of the Scientific Committee will take place on 17 and 18November 2008. It will probably take
place at the EMCDDA’s new premises.


Annex 1 – List of participants

Annex 2 – Role of the Scientific Committee (presentation by Wolfgang Götz)

Annex 3 – EMCDDA´s Scientific Committee – point of view of former chairperson (presentation by Henk

Annex 4 – Monitoring and reporting on the drug phenomenon in Europe. EMCDDA mandate and work
(presentation by Wolfgang Götz)

Annex 5 – Overview of EMCDDA´s scientific work (presentation by Paul Griffiths and Roland Simon)

Annex 6 – EMCDDA Action on new drugs: information exchange and risk (presentation by Roumen Sedefov)

Annex 7 – The EMCDDA and the REITOX network: towards quality achievement (presentation by Sandrine

Annex 8 – Communication and publications (presentation by Rosemary de Sousa)

Annex 9 – Scientific Partners and Documentation (presentation by Margareta Nilson and Maria Moreira)

Annex 10 – Rules of procedure of the Scientific Committee


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