Side event – Interrelationship between illicit drugs and socio-economic development

The relationship between law enforcement and public health, Nick Croft
Work of the Nossal Institute: information available in literature about the interrelation between production, trade and consumption, and illicit drugs. Two major organisations have done much in this area, GIZ and TNI.

Observation:
– Agencies involved in socio-economic development tend to neglect the relationship with illicit drugs.
– National and international drug control agencies disregard the socio-economic basis on which drugs are produced, traded and used. They also tend to ignore human rights.

Goal: raise awareness and influence development agencies and drug control agencies.
– Highlight the complex interrelationship between the two fields of work
– Illustrate the association between drug policy and development
– Look into production, trade and consumption

Hypothesis 1: Equitable development is necessary for successful control of illicit drugs, whilst effective and human rights based illicit drug control is necessary for socio economic development.

Hypothesis 2: there is little evidence on the causality of these two.

Findings:
– Impact of poor development on drug production: Setting in which drugs become an appealing livelihood; Increase in employment in the drug trade; Violent conflict
– Consumption is prevalent amongst children and youth with no prospects in life.
– Trade: more research is needed in that domain.
– Impacts of illicit drugs and socio-economic development: reduced productivity, health impact, violence and crime. Needs further research.

Supply side: impact of crop eradication on families involved. Effectiveness of interdiction is questionable and often leads to the development of new networks. Law enforcement against traffickers has also showed to lead to more crime and violence.

Demand side: Lack of evidence on the impact of many prevention activities. Treatment has been shown to decrease people’s involvement in criminal lifestyles. Much effort is being done to make the law right. It is the law enforcement that is more critical. Many of these activities are not necessarily linked to successful outcomes.

Conclusions:
– The interrelationships between development and drugs are complex and multifaceted.
– Significant human rights violations
– Need for drug control and development agencies to work together.

Presentation by GIZ (German Development Department)

General observations:
– Drug economies flourish in insecure settings and fragile statehood
– Conflict or post-conflict environments, climatic or geographic conditions are not very important.
– Drug economies are governed by violent means of market regulation.
– Drug economies are related to corruption.

Policy implications
– Need to look for the impact of these conditions rather than the drugs themselves.
– Short-term law enforcement should be supported by long term development strategies
– If the global drug problem is not addressed by development, then drug economies will permanently get displaced in poor socio-economic development.

GIZ: ‘Development in a drugs environment’: this means having an impact on the enabling conditions of drug economies. Alternative development is a very broad and long-term approach.

Basic principles of development projects:
– Strengthening legal livelihood components to reduce peasants’ dependency on the illicit drug market.
– Need for a long-term and sustainable approach – need for cooperation to finance these programmes.
– Need to consider both agricultural and non-agricultural approaches.
– Need to tackle the real problems of the people (food, security, poverty).
– Need to work with communities and strengthen the State at local level.

GIZ gives technical advice to the German government and agencies, close cooperation with international and European bodies.

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