The meeting is hosted by the Orthodox Academy in Kolymbari (Crete). The thirty participants include ministerial officials from several countries, representatives from UN and European institutions, and non-governmental drug policy experts. The two-day dialogue was focused on three themes: (1) explore common ground within a set of general parameters by which 'best practice' or effective drug policy is judged not on dogma or on moral principle but on scientifically evaluated, empirical evidence; (2) the policy debate on cannabis; (3) harm reduction developments at the regional and UN level; and (4) supply reduction.
A group of nearly thirty people from a dozen –mostly European- countries and with mi xed backgrounds in international institutions, m ni stries, academic research and NGOs, met in June 2004 in Crete for an Informal Drug Policy Dialogue at the invitation of the Andreas G. Papandreou Foundation (APF) and the Transnationa l Institute (TNI). Purpose of the dialogue was to have an open-minded exchange of views on current dilemmas in international drug policymaking and discuss strategies on how contradictions might be resolved. The meeting was guided by ‘Chatham House Rules’ to encourage a free exchange of thoughts and confidentiality. This report is therefore anonym ised, since no individual participant can be quoted without his or her express permission. The following summary of the debate follows the four blocks of the conference programme . This comprised an introductory session to discuss possible common starting points and ba sic criteria for an open dialogue, followed by sessions focussing on three thematic areas of crucial policy significance - cannabis, harm reduction and illicit crops/supply reduction. For each session a num ber of participants provided inputs, not as form al speeches but as introductory rem a rks to spark discussion and to comment on specific questions raised and pos itions taken by others. Most of the tim e was devoted to an open and inform al discussion between all participants.