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The International Harm Reduction Conference

The conference theme for 2010 is ‘Harm Reduction: The Next Generation’ and will be held in Liverpool, England from the 25th to the 29th of April.

The last two and a half decades of harm reduction experience has generated much evidence on how effective and possible it is in a wide variety of social and cultural settings. This conference will focus on addressing new challenges as harm reduction enters its 30th year. How adequate are the models of harm reduction that have been developed? Is the ‘comprehensive package’ of harm reduction for HIV sustainable in low and middle income countries? How can we expand harm reduction to cater for all psychoactive drugs? When we ‘scale-up’ harm reduction, should we just replicate and expand pilots and projects or work to integrate harm reduction into health systems? How does harm reduction intersect with, and change, drug control systems? What new opportunities are there for harm reduction in terms of human rights, security, development and other sectors?

Why do sex workers participate in a harm reduction conference? There is an ongoing debate whether it is appropriate use the term “harm reduction” in the context of sex work and what will be the connecting points with harm reduction in drug use. In short, sex work is not harmful by itself. It is stigma and injustice that surround sex work that bring harm and violations of rights. In this sense there is a common issue of ignored voices and experiences of marginalized communities and systematic human rights abuses. These are the issues which sex worker activists and their allies try to voice at the International Harm Reduction Conferences in the past 3 years.

Over five days, the annual IHRA conferences include around 60 sessions – including:
Opening and Closing Sessions – featuring high-profile addresses and speeches from key international figures, dignitaries from the host country, and key activists and advocates.
Plenary Sessions – which help to set themes and tones for the rest of the conference and are the focus of the programme at that time, attract over 1,000 delegates.
Major Sessions – which showcase key issues and topics in more detail, and run in sets of three at a time, each attracting around 350 delegates.
Concurrent Sessions – which run in sets of six sessions at a time, each attracting around 100 delegates, and allow for a range of different subjects and issues to be explored in the programme.
Workshops – which run alongside the Concurrent Sessions and allow for skills building and a more informal setting in which to discuss and debate specific issues.

The format of these sessions varies, but typically involves four presenters speaking for 15 minutes each based on an abstract that they have submitted online. Overall, the conference aims to accommodate around 250 oral presentations and 400 poster presentations over the five days.

The languages that will be available for the conference are Russian, English and French.

Registration & Fees
Registration for the Harm Reduction 2010 conference is now open. The organisers are using a two-tiered delegate fee structure, with reduced rates offered to students, drug user activists, volunteers, and those working or living in low to middle income countries (according to the World Bank classification). Reductions offered to those who pay in full before November 30th 2009 and January 21st 2010. After April 22nd 2010, delegates will pay a late rate regardless of country of origin or status. To register for the conference, please click here.

Each year, the conference receives around 1,000 ‘abstracts’, which are reviewed and scored before some of them are accepted to be presented in the conference programme.
The abstract submission system for Harm Reduction 2010 is now open – and will close on November 1st 2009.
All delegates who wish to present at the conference – either orally or with a poster – must submit an abstract. In order to do this, delegates must first register online for the conference, create a ‘user account’, and then follow the simple instructions in the “your submissions” session.
In order to assist delegates, the conference organisers have created a short guide which includes information about choosing a topic, writing and formatting an abstract, choosing a title, and submitting the abstract.

International Scholarship
This page of the website is not updated yet. Check it later here.

Other Events
Film Festival Call for Submissions
The 7th International Drugs and Harm Reduction Film Festival will be integrated as a parallel track in the conference programme for Harm Reduction 2010. For the seventh year in a row, the Film Festival Team aim to collect a huge range of films – from animations to documentaries, art house to education – provided they relate to drugs and harm reduction. The Festival provides an ideal stage for film makers to showcase their latest work.

If you are interested in submitting a film for 2010, please complete the Submission Form (including a 250-word synopsis of the film). All Forms must be accompanied by either hard or electronic copies of the films themselves, and must be received by January 25th 2010. All submissions will then be subjected to a review by an expert panel before possible selection. If film-makers are also able to attend the conference, there may be opportunities to formally present and discuss their work. Click here for more info.

For 2010 (as in previous years), the exhibition area will be located in the conference venue in the same room where the meals and refreshments are served to delegates. This ensures a lot of ‘traffic’ through these areas. As such, the conference is an excellent opportunity to promote your organisation and its services and products in a highly interactive atmosphere. Click here to see the sponsorship, advertising and exhibition opportunities for the 2010 conference.