Side Event: Challenges in the role of development in drug control policies


Organized by Germany, Peru and Thailand, and Mae Fah Luang Foundation under Royal Patronage and UNODC Sustainable Livelihoods

Mr Jorge Rios, Head of Sustainable Livelihoods, UNODC

Please see Expert Group paper from meeting in Chiang Rai

Ms Miwa Kato, UNODC

Alternative development (AD) is a fundamental pillar of international drug crop control strategy and anchored in 3 conventions. Development centred drug control play important part in all strategies. Results of Chiang Rai discussions are in CND paper #7 – submitted by Germany, Peru Thailand and UNODC. UNODC involved in these programs for close to 50 years. We see potential and positive impact of these programs in these regional areas. These initiatives make an impact at socioeconomic level. Changing gender norms is necessary. Projects critical to halting deforestation and have direct impacts on climate change efforts. It helps foster peace in regional areas and provides alternative modes of financing for criminal groups. But it’s not always easy! It’s not conventional development. We are working under challenging circumstances. Further compounded by conflict, lack of infrastructure. Needs to do more than just illicit crop reduction. Needs to take into account social reintegration etc. Connectivity of issues needs to be addressed, when thinking about 2030 agenda. UNODC recognises high quality evidence to inform policy making. Development orientated approaches have been halted by difficulty in obtaining data. Concerted effort to revise data collection practices. Access to markets is challenging but necessary. AD projects need quality projects. Support for entrepreneurship is necessary. Difficult to engage private sector though. Launch of coffee in Myanmar through successful public-private partnership. Took lessons learned into consideration. We provided a platform to advance discussions. I appeal to people here to help us come up with innovative partnerships. The partnership with France has been very successful. Essential to gain trust and confidence with local communities – they must be active in the partnership process. Govts of Peru, Germany and Thailand have been generous supporters of alt development and UNODC. We know call on other member states to contribute to our programs. International community has pledged to 2030 Agenda. Alt development is associated with many of the SDGs. We encourage govts and partners to pledge support for alternative development. Thank you for the enthusiastic support for these projects.

H.E. Gerhard Kuntzle, Ambassador to Germany

Can we propose a relationship for this coffee within the commissary? I would like that! Thank you to our partners on this side event. I’d like to congratulate Thailand for their long-term work. I am presenting on behalf of my colleague.

I’m worried about the record high in poppy and coca cultivation. More people than ever now die of overdose. Revenue of drug trafficking is as high as 10 billion in some countries each year. I’m worried that some countries help this organised crime. Deforestation contributes to climate change and global warming. Funding is not satisfactory. Merely focusing on eradication is not sustainable. Illicit crops should not be our concern – the poverty should be. Germany and EU have been major funders for alt development. We invite you to help support this approach. We’ve established a strong partnership with Thailand and the Mae Fah Luang Foundation. A more development led approach is important. Best practice for multilateralism. Global dialogue and multilateralism are key instruments. Norway, Netherlands, TNI and IDPC have been very important. I ask for your support in our resolution this year. Crucial role of women in successful interventions.

H.E. Eric Anderson, Peru

I agree with Gerhard – we should utilise the products here in the commissary. It’s important to recall meeting in December in Chiang Rai. There’s a growing trend in drug consumption. Drug trafficking in our countries is due to a growing trend in increased demand. This affects human security in Peru. Priority attention is required in parts of Peru. 50,000 hectares of coca crop in Peru, more than 25,000 cleared every year. 120,000 families rely on coca crop cultivation. Important role of incorporating key affected communities. There are some measures that affect the market – its necessary for us to work together. Peru has developed a comprehensive strategy to close public service gaps. Implementation of model in main affected areas. Make alliances with key actors. Strengthen territorial presence. Promote the sustainable use to overcome poverty. Important to underline alliances with native communities. All countries in development orientated strategies require more discussions of the role of development in current drug control context. AD plays key role in achieving SDGs. This will lead to increased resources and better outcomes. Global drug program requires interconnected and aligned initiatives, growth of public-private partnerships and new partnership models are necessary to push agenda forward.

H.E. Morakat Sriswasdi, Thailand

I also support having the products in the commissary – this should’ve been done a long time ago. I’m speaking on behalf of a colleague. I thank all partners on this panel. Opium poppy cultivation was successfully eliminated by successful AD programs. AD is necessary. Long term livelihood development programs paved the way. Royal Project Foundation under the leadership of the King continues to extend its work and contribute to the livelihood of our people. We express our commitment at the very highest level. Putting people at the centre is necessary. Thailand has been very successful, but we need to continue to innovate and remain relevant. Manufacturing of illicit drugs is increasing globally. Methamphetamine supply and demand is increasing. We seek to learn of principles and practices similar to AD for modern synthetic drugs. Strong commitment through a 12 year program for those previously involved in drug trafficking networks – we work with them hand-in-hand, meeting community needs and wants. We need to deter them from going back to illicit crimes. Diversify to include variable income – trading, services and tourism. We need to cut down drug demand. 10-day detox scheme is in place. Development is not about drugs, but about people. People-centred approach is necessary. Marginalisation needs to be looked at – and we can use principles from successful AD approaches. People are people, and subject to human insecurities. Engagement of all stakeholders is crucial. Private sector can play extremely important role – and not just in financing. Rule of law must prevail – but when we speak of this, we also mean codes of conduct from key affected communities in respectful ways. Bottom-up processes make it more likely for people to follow rule of law. The drug problem is evolving faster than we can keep up with. Thailand proposes that we align AD processes with achieving SDG goals and share in countering the world drug problem


Former president of INCB: Congratulate Thailand on your achievements in AD. The world drug problem is changing every minute – NPS, other synthetic drugs, fentanyl derivatives. AD focusses on plant-based drugs: I am happy to hear Thailand thinking beyond plant based drugs. We need to solve the problem of synthetic drugs. In our annual report 2019, you see global problem of methamphetamine. How can we move forward to think about synthetic drugs and incorporate AD principles?

Chair: Hopefully the document provides some guidance on this – Chapter 7 mentions this – but remember that AD applies to rural regions.

Question: I’d like to bring cannabis up here. Two of the representatives (Germany and Thailand) have medicinal cannabis programs. Have you considered soliciting illicit farmers into licit farmers?

Germany: That is a very specific question. I cannot comment.

Thailand: This issue is for further discussion. In Thailand, this is under strict control by the law. It’s research that we are implementing – I cannot discuss.

We need to discuss the benefits to the farmers, investments and standards – this involves a lot of capital. Because of corporates pushing the cannabis markets into our countries, we need to be careful on how to take these offers and protect the farmers.

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