APDES is a non-profit organisation, founded in 2004 with the main aim of promoting integrated development. It’s acknowledged as an NGO for Development by Camões – Instituto da Cooperação e da Língua I.P.
APDES works with vulnerable people and communities in domains such as access to healthcare, employment and education, seeking to empower these populations and reinforce social cohesion. Its core principles are: Human Rights Protection, Action Research and Evaluation Methodologies, Participative and Proximity Models of Intervention; Empowerment and Citizenship; Activism and Policy Action; Transdisciplinary Approaches. Therefore, APDES profile is oriented to: (a) providing proximal intervention services to vulnerable people and communities at national and international contexts, (b) producing critical understanding and research on the health and social reality and changing and advocating for fair health and social policies.
In the present time, APDES is an effective member of the European Drug Policy Initiative (EDPI) and several other national and international networks: European Civil Society Forum on Drugs, hosted by the European Commission - DG Justice; Correlation Network Hepatitis C Initiative (coordinating the Advocacy and Policy work stream) funded by European Commission - DG Justice, EUROHRN - European Harm Reduction Network funded by European Commission - DG Justice (APDES is one of its founders and is the leader of the South European sub-region, where has been playing an advocacy role for the promotion of Harm Reduction in this region); NEWIP – Night Life Empowerment and Well Being Implementation Project, funded by European Commission DG Health (APDES is the coordinator of the Evaluation work package); INDOORS II – Support and Empowerment of Female Sex Workers and Trafficked Women working in Hidden Places, a European network co-funded by DAPHNE III (APDES coordinates the work packages Empowerment for indoor sex workers and Awareness raising about sex’s workers rights); IDPC - International Drug Policy Consortium; R3 –Portuguese National Harm Reduction Network; RTS – National Portuguese Network on Sex Work; Portuguese Civil Society Forum on HIV.
In the last two years APDES has been discussing with parliamentary groups and health commission the drug policy reform, namely regarding the maintenance and improvement of harm reduction services and political responses to new psychoactive substances in Portugal.