Harm reduction has always been grassroots and civil society driven. A strong and active harm reduction sector is essential for achieving our vision of a world where individuals and their families benefit from drugs laws, policies and practices that promote health, dignity and human rights.
Meaningful civil society engagement and the full participation of people who use drugs and other affected communities are also vital for transparency, accountability, and sound policy making.
Harm reduction works to strengthen our sector and promote civil society engagement in three main ways:
Convening the international harm reduction conference
Harm reduction is a global movement. Every two years we gather at the International harm reduction conference organised by HRI. It is the world’s largest international drugs conference and the global hub for our sector.
Building advocacy coalitions
HRI works to bring harm reduction, human rights and drug policy advocates together around key issues, from increasing attention to underserved groups in harm reduction responses to human rights abuses committed in the context of drug enforcement.
A UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs has been announced for 2016; a once in a generation opportunity to change direction in drug control. HRI is co-ordinating civil society groups to ensure that harm reduction becomes the foundational principle of the next decade of international drug policy, and for the scale up of harm reduction resourcing to 10% of enforcement spend by 2020. See "Spending where it matters" page.
Supporting emerging networks
We have been supporting emerging networks since 2007 through small grants, technical and developmental advice and fundraising assistance. From 2007 to 2012 we helped significantly increase donor contributions to harm reduction networking and advocacy and we have helped establish a number of regional and thematic networks including the Middle Eastern and North African Harm Reduction Association (MENAHRA) and Youth RISE.
HRI acts as the secretariat for the European Harm Reduction Network (EuroHRN) which we helped found in 2011.
Click here for more information about regional and thematic harm reduction networks and links to our partners’ websites.