The First Latin Conference on Harm Reduction (CLAT1) was celebrated in Barcelona in November 2001, with 700 attendants. Its continuity came in the French town of Perpignan with CLAT2 in May 2003, that reunited almost 1000 participants.
As convinced of the pertinence and significance of such an event, Grup Igia, in collaboration with several institutions and groups, is pleased to announce the Third Latin Conference on drug-related Harm Reduction (CLAT3), to be celebrated in Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona, Spain) from June 30 to July 2, 2005.
Official CLAT Conferences’ languages are French, Italian, Portuguese, English and Spanish, and all sessions will be translated to all these four languages. Posters, and abstracts in the Conference Book, will be presented in the authors’ languages.
More than ten years have past since the arrival to our countries of the “new” ways to cope with drug dependence phenomena, known as Harm Reduction. This tendency was originated in Northwestern Europe under the form of practices and policies with public health aims that developed actions to prenet the transmission of infectious diseases, particularly Aids and hepatitis, among drug injectors. Needle exchange programs were their first and most significant manifestation.
These ways of action have been developed in most Western countries with great variations and differences: experiences, teams, programs, services, strategies, policies, etcetera, configure a widely diverse, multi-faceted, and heterogeneous scene in international scope.
As related to this development, we have lived a process of change in our ways to think of, and act toward the phenomena of drug use, where health-oriented objectives have proggressively gained importance. Consequently, a wide range of professionals from different academic and scientific environments, working at different levels between practice and policies, have come to assume this “new” approach.
Aware of this complex reality, we created the Latin Conference on Harm Reduction (CLAT) with the purpose to reunite the main actors and agents in the drugs field from Southern European and Latin American countries, every two years, to exchange, disseminate, and reflect upon the evolution of practices and the political, social, cultural, technical, and scientific diversities within which they operate.
This question is a motto since our origins. There is no definitive response for that, but mainly it is related with our wish to have a conference in our languages, addressed to our specific problems and under our particular cultural codes. This intention was channelled through CLAT1 as ways to differentiate from other international conferences with a remarkable Anglo-Saxon stress.
Translation of all sessions to Portuguese, French, Italian and Spanish is an identity trait for CLAT Conferences. And obviously, it also represents a high cost that could not be assumed without the collaboration of our countries’ Governments.
Specifically CLAT3, besides its scientific program, prioritizes the establishment of spaces and dynamics that favour contact among individuals, teams, and institutions from different procedences. We are sure that relational aspects are vital in Latin cultures, and so we will intend that this Conference consists not only of accumulating speeches and science, but also of an environment within which encounters, contacts, and liaisons deem favoured.
Participants in the two prior Conferences came mostly from Southern European and Latin American countries: France, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and Spain; Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Mexico.
For this Third Conference we found it relevant to favor the presence of teams and professionals from two key areas: the Southern Mediterranean (Morocco), and the American francophones (Canada).
Our hope is that individuals, teams, public and private institutions from these and other countries feel interested and comfortable as to take part in the Latin Conference.
CLAT3 intends to call for: health professionals, officials and planners linked to interventions; researchers; organizations and individuals involved with drug dependence phenomena –as victims, actors, advocacists, groups of interest etcetera– that wish to diseminate their experiences, dialogue with others, and take part in a wider collective reflection.