UNGASS roundtable 5: Alternative development

Alternative development; regional, interregional and international cooperation on development-oriented balanced drug control policy; addressing socioeconomic issues

 

(i) Drugs, addressing socioeconomic issues and fostering alternative development, including preventive alternative development;

(ii) Enhancing regional, interregional and international cooperation on development-oriented, balanced drug control policy;

 

Co-Chair President Ollanta Humala of Peru: Good afternoon, it is an honour to call to order this meeting. We will be discussing matters of alternative development. I am pleased to be able to participate in this today and to represent the country of Peru. Drugs are a great threat to our planet, equal to that of climate change. To tackle this quickly, my government has developed an approach to the fact that we produce licit and illicit crops since Incan times. This has been a reality that we had to face. We have reduced the amount of coca leaves that were being grown in our country by half and the focus on alternative crops has helped us. We now produce cocoa and coffee, we are the 8th cocoa and 5th coffee producer in the world. This has helped us develop our infrastructure, health system, internet access etc. In this way we have been able to help our own people and we have been addressing the price and quantity of coca through this. We have land allocated to alternative development. Our economy is growing today and we will continue to reduce poverty in this way. We heard a question this morning about solutions to the drug problem. Countries in Europe, America and Asia etc. bear the main burden of meeting the demand of drugs, therefore we need a strategic alliance between different countries and regions. We had a cooperation agreement with the USA a few years ago but this did not automatically lead to shared responsibility. What we need are strategic solution-driven partnerships, not just theoretical ones. It is in this context that I want to open this debate and add that everybody is vulnerable to this global threat, no one is free of it. I know give the word to my co-chair.

 

Co-Chair and Ambassador Reza Najafi of Iran: Thank you, it is an honour to be here today. Participation in the roundtable will be conducted without a static list. All participants are invited to speak from their seats and to avoid reading from written statements to allow for maximum debate and to limit their interventions to three minutes. I am aiming to allow for interventions from civil society and all other stakeholders to allow for a broader debate. I am now inviting the President to continue this discussion.

 

President Humala: I just wanted to reiterate that everyone should oblige by the time limits so that we all have the chance to speak. I will give the floor now to the speaker from Mexico.

 

Miguel Ruiz Cabanas Izquierdo, Mexico: Thank you very much. 6 months ago, the SDGs were adopted here in this Assembly, an unprecedented plan for this planet. In this agenda, the international community fostered a plan for a free, just and peaceful inclusive society. The importance of this is relevant in the debate on drugs. What we need is a holistic response to the drug phenomenon. My government welcomes the document adopted and especially the paragraph on the promotion of international cooperation strategies as well as the socio-economic issues and causes and consequences of the world drug problem. We welcome the new structure of the document and the new language which opens the door on the general re-conceptualization of the world drug problem. Among the recommendations we agreed on a call to strengthen the development approach. This language is very important because the international community’s efforts have been limited in the past to mostly just alternative development, without a more broad and comprehensive approach to development. We have a few specific proposals for adequate follow-up for this document. Mexico proposes that the Secretary-General and UN agencies are asked the following: to compile information on the way UN bodies can contribute to follow up on the results of UNGASS and the balanced integration of the strategies. We need to look at ways the agencies can help with regards to development and the environment. We also request an international forum for dialogue on specific experiences and stories on alternatives to incarceration, decriminalization, etc. We also ask the INCB, WHO and other agencies to develop a study on specific measures which can help us reach the gap between nations with regards to access to medication for palliative care. There is a paradox in this world which should not continue. More than 80% of the world’s population does not have access to opiate-derived drugs. Thank you very much.

 

President Humala: Having now heard these ideas and this framework asking for organisations like UNDP to be involved in countering the drug problem, I know give the floor to the German representative.

 

Marlene Mortler, Germany: I am privileged to speak on behalf of the regional group. This is truly a point of culmination in our long process of discussion on the UNGASS subject. I would like to express my gratitude to the President of Peru and his co-chair for organising this event. I am honoured to share this panel with such distinguished speakers and German partners. After a long period of preparations, we are finally here in New York at the UNGASS, a long-awaited moment and unique opportunity to promote development and human centrered approached. I believe that we should further push for integrative drug policy measures. You may ask yourself why the German government is so interested in pushing forward the agenda for AD. First of all, I am from a finally of farmers myself. Agricultural regions are often plagued by huge problems of poverty, corruption and criminality, especially affecting women. We cannot limit our efforts to our national territories but have to extend our efforts internationally and recognize the vulnerability of farming regions all over the world. I am glad that we have focused on some of the most crucial issues in the outcome document, including the empowerment of farming communities, issues that have not always been sufficiently focused on. Alternative development is at times still confronted with scepticism as to its value to limit drug crop cultivation, despite having been proven successful. UNGASS 2016 should be the moment to overcome this situation. We need interventions to promote the development in production communities which is part of a long-term plan. AD cannot make drugs disappear within a few months; it is a long-term project. For AD to achieve it’s full potential some criteria must be met. Three aspects are crucial for AD to gain more support and unlock its full potential. We still face a large gap between the political endorsement and the funding it receives. There is a distorted image of AD. On one hand it’s politically visibility is raising high expectations, however the funding has been limited which means it is not usually as effective as people expect. There is an emerging trend towards adding it to development frameworks. We as the international community need to support and push forward this process. We also need to emphasize links with other issues of global relevance such as link to the environment and climate change. We also need to ask ourselves why AD has not received more attention by donors since the 2009 declaration. We have to recognize that the evidence-base is weak when it comes to the impact of AD. I am convinced that we need to invest more into impact research to make the value of such investments clearer. Otherwise AD will remain an objective that people will remain unwilling to commit to. Finally, AD must be put into the framework of overall development more, also in the context of the SGDs. We have to revisit AD and re-assess its contributions to the SDGs. AD serves the purposes of drug control whilst also contributing to the 2030 agenda. We need to involve the wider community to take advantage of the knowledge and experiences of all members and stakeholders. Thank you for your attention.

 

Disnadda Diskul, Thailand: Due to its efforts, Thailand has been removed from the UNODC’s list of opium growing countries in 2003 and I wish to highlight some key takeaway points from these experiences. First, AD and SD are fundamentally linked. Central to both is addressing needs and wants of the people and support for them to stand on both feet independently. Action that focuses on one but not the other becomes part of the problem. Second, we must take a long-term view that is human centred to measure the success of such development. Outcomes must be measured; what do the people get out of efforts invested into development? Socio-economic and other factors must be measurable so that AD can actually contribute to realizing the SDGs. We must involve all levels of stakeholders including grassroots communities, governments, UN bodies etc. We must foster a sense of ownership so that local people can take over these efforts. Third, we must start focusing on AD in urban areas as these are also affected by problems such as poverty, slums, etc. We need to address problems at their root cause through empowerment and respect. Finally, the global community now has the UN guidelines for development and I urge all member states to implement these guidelines in a measurable and sustainable way. Thailand is proud to say that we are partnering with GIZ and Germany to assist countries wishing to implement AD on the grounds. I believe that sharing best practices and lessons learnt is crucial; Thailand will continue to be a donor country in software in partnership with other donor countries. Ladies and gentlemen, 2016 it is time that we put all the principles and intentions laid out today into real action for the people on the ground. Thank you.

 

Christian Leffler, European Commission: Thank you very much, I am honoured to speak here today. AD is an important part of contributing to development globally. There has been discussion on its effectiveness but as we are hearing here today AD has already changed lives for many people in the past 30 or 40 years. The EU has been developing such programs since the 1990s, most of these in countries like Peru and Bolivia, but also in Afghanistan and Lao, drawing from the experiences of Thailand. It has been a humbling experience. AD can make a useful and viable solution to development issues, but there can be unintended side effects. We require more research and care. A number of countries in Latin America and Asia have proven successful implementation, and like it has been said, bringing this to urban settings is useful. You will hear again and again that AD CAN bring meaningful change to development, infrastructure, education and wellbeing of people. We must admit though that these processes take time, but it is also a way to keep the focus on the farmers. The price changes and demand for products may take year to be affected, but new partnerships may develop which we cannot even foresee today. I hope for more funding, investment and public aid and a wider engagement with the private sector. International partnerships must come in and deliver; the EU offers preferential treatment of products grown as an alternative to illicit crops. Another key factor has been the commitment of governments to work together as this prevents the balloon effects of crops to disappear from one place and to appear in another. Authorities that are strongly committed to peace, stability and inclusiveness therefore experience the most success in this regard. Even though I am an official EU speaker I would also like to represent the Easter European countries. Many of these countries are more sceptical with regards to AD, which could be due to the limited success of AD due to limited fundings. All the arguments in favour and against AD have found their place in the UNGASS outcome document. Looking to the challenges ahead we know that AD will be an essential part of the solution to these problems though. After many years of working in Latin America I am humbled by the successes of AD in that region, and I have been impressed by different but equally successful efforts in Thailand. However, the new challenges such as the chemically produced drugs made mostly in urban environments require new solutions which can be drawn from the experiences in rural areas. We also need to consider issues such as climate change and organised crime linked to terrorism. We need to support stable states and economies which is a goal set out in the agenda 2030. In order to address these challenges, the EU tries to maximise its support to AD in the rural and urban environments and to strengthen cooperation and partnerships. We have not found all the solutions, far from it. But we are committed to continue the process of finding new solutions that benefit communities around the world. Thank you.

 

Nang Pann Ei Kham, Myanmar Opium Farmers groups: Thank you and good afternoon. I am here to speak on behalf of Myanmar Opium Farmers groups. Our group met with other groups of coca, opium and marijuana farmers in the Netherlands and these were the conclusions of the meeting. We grow crops because of financial need, most of us are poor and strive for survival, we are struggling against financial barriers and problems. We use opium as a medicine and it is part of our traditional livelihood. We believe it protects us from evil and brings good luck. We demand respect for our traditional lifestyle and are not criminals. We are now threatened with forced eradication which would cause us to fall into debt as we sell our crops before growing them. We require services that are currently lacking. Very few of us have so far benefited from AD programs. These should be designed with out help. We want the UNGASS to result in an end to the treatment of farmers as criminals. Please improve development programs with our support and to support us. Thank you.

 

President Humala: Thank you for your comments. Just like coca in our country, opium is not used traditionally only for drugs but for many other purposes. I would like to add that I haven’t heard yet from countries that are purchasing drugs and paying millions for this. When we talk about reducing and providing alternatives, we also need to address the great demand by those who purchase millions of tons for use. We haven’t heard from this sector yet so I hope we will hear from this sector, as we are all here today to hear from all sides.

 

UNODC Director Yury Fedotov: Thank you. This theme is especially timely. UNODC has been supporting member states in implementing AD for more than 30 years and we provide help to marginalized communities and farmers. UNODC works closely with the governments of Thailand and Peru and have brought out the ICAD 1 and ICAD 2, the guiding principles on this form of development which has help move forward this process. AD is a development-orientated approach. Farmers should be included in the decision-making process. National resources must be sustainability used. The decline of coca cultivation in the regions of Peru, Colombia, Bolivia has been effective whilst AD products have increased and is considered part of a peace process. We need to strike a balance between short-term food security needs and long-term development needs. In Myanmar AD has been limited so far but we are working towards extending this now with the help of partnering countries. Even in Afghanistan, UNODC is working on small-scale agricultural projects geared at empowering women in particular. UNODC stands ready to continue supporting countries through high quality and evidence-based analysis. In 2016, the world drug report will contain an even larger thematic chapter placing AD in the context of sustainable development. AD when designed properly can succeed. Unfortunately widespread political support has so far not been matched by adequate funding. We hopefully will now have the initiative to change this. Thank you.

 

President Humala: I hope we will still hear more from the consumer countries, but I am optimistic in this regard. Thank you.

 

Minister of National Security of the Bahamas Dr. Bernard J. Nottage, Co-Chair: Thank you. I’m from the Bahamas where we are concerned about criminal activity emerging from drug trade. We are committed to working towards achieving the 2030 agenda for SD. We will now begin the interactive discussion.

 

Ecuador: I thank the panellists for their interesting discussion. However, we notice that preventative alternative development has not been adequately addressed. Ecuador focuses its projects on preventing and protecting those most vulnerable and integral and balanced vision of shared responsibility on full respect of human rights and socio-cultural differences. Environmental destruction is the result of programs of crop eradication which also ignores the needs of the population. Whilst some places wish for crops to be eradicated, these crops will pop up in a different place due to the balloon effect. This means that it is undeniable that no matter how strong our commitment to reduce supply is, as long as there is a demand, there will be a supply. There is no single challenge in this world, and a single uniform policy is not adequate for this world. This is why we underscore the varying approaches between countries. My country is susceptible to illicit trafficking from chemical and controlled substances with all the risks involved for our population. Communities are supported by the state and develop new practices to solve these issues. Our aim is to strike a balance in comprehensive development. We include human development, gender view, environmental protection etc. in our policies to make them balance and sustainable. Ecuador is making progress in closing the rift and marginalization of minorities. We believe that preventive alternative development is a benchmark to address the capacity building of people and communities. Currently due to socio-economic aspects of this phenomenon such as crime, drug abuse etc., we have implemented also urban AD including prevention problems targeting the most vulnerable groups. Thank you very much.

 

Brazil: We are pleased to take part in this discussion. This delegation is taking the opportunity to present to a broad discussion but specific comments in all UNGASS session. Brazil would like to highlight the need to diversify strategies. This is necessary so that effects can be felt more universally. It is our view that AD strategies should not be limited to the eradication of illicit crops but should be extended to urban environment. The UNGASS outcome document has already broadened the discussion and we are confident that this will improve the discussion for all.

 

Colombia: Only a critical view of the past can explain the persistent presence of the growth of illicit crops in our countries. Colombia continues to be the greatest producer in the world according to UNODC. This alarming rise has maintained over time despite efforts into forced eradication and AD over the last 10 years. More than 346,000 hectares were eradicated through AD during this period, more than 1 million hectares of coca have been sprayed, which means that more than 1.4 million hectares have been eradicated. Nevertheless, we are still the greatest coca producer in the world. So we need to understand the failures and limitations of the past. First of all, the vulnerability of certain territories including the use of force against farming and indigenous communities. The on-going sustained lack of substitution in these areas has increased criminal activities. What have we done? We have given priority to crops rather than to families and youth, secondly there has been military presence, which has stigmatized entire affected regions. Our strategy had a high cost for the population and has led to armed groups. We know that there are lessons learnt especially in those areas most affected by armed conflict. We know that coca is profitable for the farmers but that there is still a need for empowerment of these farmers. We learnt that farming individuals need to be offered other activates that are focused on long-term progress. International cooperation has helped and should be strengthened. The government of Colombia set out the new strategy dealing with various levels of traffickers and not focusing on the growers like we did in the past. This is to address the financing and structures at the international levels and facilitates development. Consumption now is addressed from a public health and human rights perspective, and equally we are trying to strengthen democracy and human rights in our areas. The vulnerable and poor communities are most likely to grow crops. We aim to rebuild trust of the community and to rebuild the legitimacy of the state through civil participation, this goes beyond just the growers. We substitute confrontation with cooperation and agree with the communities on the actions instead of forced eradication. We ensure that these actions are undertaken in the long term. We are optimistic in our peace efforts and understand that there is still resistance, but peace is our long-term solution and outcome. Thank you.

 

Burkina Faso: Mr President, the UN conventions on drug control form the bedrock of our plans and programs on combatting illicit substances through an integrated and balanced approach. Concerning alternative development, Burkina Faso is not a production country, but it is a transit zone and also a consumer country. Burkina Faso has ratified most international and regional conventions and is a participant in the West African and Sahel Country regional programs. Concerning money laundering, we adopted in 2006 and in 2009 new laws combatting terrorism. Law 026 dealt with financial information concerning terrorism and criminal groups. Criminality has increased in young people due to unemployment and there is an upsurge in trans-national organized crime. Our country has drafted a framework against organised crime and terrorism. We would like to thank and congratulate the UNODC for its assistance and support which has been steadfast. States need improved resources and support. We urge our technical and financial partners to further invest into strength, security, health, stability and other staff involved in the prevention and solving of crime issues. In the framework of shared responsibility, we urge the international community to support development especially as young people are the main victims of organised crime and drugs. We also need to protect young people and drug users from such dependence. Thank you.

 

Bahamas speaker: Thank you. Bahamas is grateful for the opportunity to make an intervention. We are aware of the fact that socio-economic factors that may drive people to get involved into the production and trafficking of drugs. Apart from the production of several small fields of marijuana plants, we are not a producer of illicit crops, but we are a major trafficking country with out 700 islands which are ideal conditions for traffickers to target for example fishing industries. Small islands are especially challenged by the need to provide appropriate and basic infrastructure to target the needs of the population in terms of education, health, etc. We need support in developing access to export markets, take down barriers etc. for our people and farmers to increase stability. We need sustainable food production systems for vulnerable populations to prevent them from becoming more at risk. We have launched a marine science institute which provides access to training, academia, orientation, management, conservation, business, etc. to workers in our country. We are also about to launch a big program of reintegration for offenders which involves labour market access. The Bahamas is determined that drug trafficking and criminality should not jeopardize the development in our country and in others. We also remain partners to other countries in achieving progress together. Thank you.

 

India: Thank you. India believes that there should be a firm commitment to solving these issues related to illicit cultivation. The underlying reasons for illicit cultivation is poverty, and therefore this issue should be tackled through a development agenda. We need to motivate people to cultivate alternate crops. But we also need to make it clear that illicit cultivation is not viable. India has a task force which is mandated to decide how to hand this issue with the farmers. India is enjoying the experience of other country and of the UNODC and is looking forward to further exchanges. Thank you.

 

Argentina: Thank you. Over the last few days we have been discussing this issue from a human rights perspective, and this roundtable is linked to that subject. Work is a social aspect for individuals and communities and populations that grow crops for a living require work. But let’s talk about disintegrating the criminal mafia groups involved in the trafficking. How does this relate to the state role of breaking up these criminal groups. There are two situations that require more decisive action by the state. First, tackling precarious situations such as unemployment. In Argentina, vulnerable populations are both growing crops but also hired to traffic drugs. We can’t address what to do with the poor unless we address how to deal with the rich also. With regards to money laundering, we need to tackle this issue and a state that is more active in fighting this problem. We need to incorporate a state system which takes down the corrupt whilst giving services and helping the vulnerable. We need to talk about the high number of children and women who are held captive by this system without necessarily being growers, e.g. in urban environments. Jails are filled with women who are vulnerable and this needs to be addressed. Thank you.

 

China: Thank you. These AD strategies have shown results, but these are also limited and need to be furthered. China has strengthened the cooperation with Myanmar and with Laos in the past years and increased the production of sugar care, rubber trees and other plants to replace poppy cultivation. We can see despite the prohibition of poppies in the golden triangle, there is still illicit cultivation and chemical drugs are on the rise due to a demand. Due to alternative development strategies, we need to do research on this topic before we plan further to make efforts as strategic as possible. Drug crop areas are mostly in poverty stricken areas and require support and education, rehabilitation and other development strategies. Different types of development should be given attention to, including alternative development but not only. We should focus on both common and shared responsibility and renew our commitments. Areas in the golden triangle should be helped through join efforts by the international community, UN bodies and other members. Thank you.

 

Farmer’s representative from Peru (civil society): Good afternoon. I am a woman, a farmer, a grower, and I represent the Andean countries. I wish to begin by saying that reducing crops has created serious problems for us farmers. I would like to ask you as leaders on this policy of forced eradication applied to date in many regions of this world, which has been a complete failure. This policy runs counter to human rights. It causes environmental harms and destroys livelihood. We have multiple uses of these plants such as the coca leaf as it is part of our heritage and we ask for respect from the international community as well as access to international markets. We know that coca can be used for cocaine especially in the poorest areas. The problem with alternative development has been the lack of involvement of communities in implementing actions and short-term approaches that have ended up in corruption. There is a lack of agenda on sustainability and environmental protection. There is a lack of access to technologies. We want to say clearly that we farmers are not criminals, victims, terrorists, we are people. AD has criminalized our people and increased poverty in our country, and I would like to ask for this to stop.

 

 

United States: Illicit crops are a large problem for an entire region. Doctors and businesses have a hard time going into areas of illicit crops. We know that people who grow illicit crops are often very poor. The key of success is to ensure that governments are focused on sustainable development. AD works in areas where there is a risk of land being taken away. In Peru for example AD was especially successfully in those areas. The complementarity of AD and SD is true, as has been said. Addressing the world drug problem requires a multi-sectorial approach as has been expressed in the outcome document. The US questions the needs to create additional bodies and instead encourages UNODC and other agencies such as UNDP, WHO etc. to implement the outcome documents. Thank you Mr Chair.

 

Costa Rica: Thank you very much chair. I wish to join delegates that have spoken earlier that have said that we have focused on the illicit crops, but we believe that there should be actions not just geared at AD but also human development for people negatively affected by this trade. We should gear our actions towards human development and to help people to be empowered again instead of living under organised crime. Communities that have been lost need to recover and we need to look at these areas of vulnerability and try to reduce trafficking. In my country, we have been taking our policy in a different direction to channel our funds towards human development and recovery as well as prevention. Thank you.

 

European Union: The EU has always seen AD as a long-term plan and as long as root causes such as poverty, weak infrastructure, and ineffective rule of law are present, this AD will be limited. The EU is one of the globally most important donors in this field. We think it’s an effort that should be shared and we are glad that this issue is gaining more recognition across the world. We like that AD is receiving attention e.g. in the outcome document where recommendations are given to develop viable alternative development and to address the root causes. We feel that the global funds have been insufficient in this regard since 2009. We strongly encourage all member countries to contribute more and you can be certain that EU members will do so. Finally, all our efforts have to be fully in line with the 2030 agenda. Thank you very much.

 

Thailand: Thank you. Thailand attaches great importance to the AD and sustainable development. As was mentioned earlier, Thailand hosted the second ICAD in November 2015 and I would like to stress that this was attended also by civil society, and some of the key outcomes are: it is important that AD are mainstreamed into national development plans, even if this is difficult. Thailand has implemented AD into its national strategy for the last 50 years and this needs to be deepened into development plans. Second, we need all stakeholders on all levels to be involved so hat AD can be successful, including local communities, farmers, etc. Thirdly, political will is important but long-term funding support is needed, especially flexible long-term funding. Fourthly, AD programs should be properly designed to meet the needs of the beneficiaries, and should be human-centred as well as a gradual process. Fifthly, AD programs should give importance to environmental sustainability. AD does not lead to deforestation unlike what has been mentioned by programs. In Thailand, we have been able to recove much of the forest lost in the 1960s and 1970s to drugs. Finally, AD products must be high-quality, marketable products that can enter markets. Regarding international cooperation, Thailand views that both regional and international cooperation are required for successful AD implementation, and this is why in our region of ASEAN and Mekong, we have signed agreements. I would like to add that the idea of implementing AD programs in urban areas is an idea that deserves serious consideration. Thank you.

 

Sweden: Thank you. When we talk about intensifying international cooperation we should also talk about the role of the UNODC. We have seen an increase in the budget of the UNODC in the past three years which is promising. However, the UNODC doesn’t have the flexibility to give those areas the priority that deserve this according to the CND, which means there is still a funding issue. I think the focus must be on implementation of what we have decided on, and not to go back and decide on new areas and subjects. I think the proposal of Mexico that the SecGen should look into the question of how to engage UN bodies in the implementation is a good suggestion. For this we need to improve funding for these bodies so that they can be active programs. It is up to us member states to do this; the secretary General can push for this but we have to argue for these issues to come into the regular agenda. I would like to thank Thailand and Germany to push for the issue of AD, and it is extremely important to see AD as part of the 2030 SD agenda. Several speakers have been discussing integrating AD in their general development framework and that is a good way of allowing countries to be in charge of these policies. We should also look into the issue of drugs as a security question, especially as drug crime helps finance terrorism, and conflicts across the world are dependent on drug use and you can see this clearly. I’ve been in this business for too long, but I have to say that our push for the Security Council to focus more on the issue of drugs in conflict has been successful to some extent. So let us not make a new plan of action but look at what has been successful and how we continue or improve this. Thank you.

 

Japan: Thank you. Congratulations to all the panellists. Japan believes that AD is in principle a good program for all countries. Poverty reduction, eradication, finding markets for quality products, are all indispensible steps in this process. But Japan asks that AD policies should be based on human rights and dignity. I’d like to highlight the importance to support the local farmers and to provide users with the necessary medical care. To conclude my intervention I’d like to provide that balanced approaches are key, especially the balance between control, support, and demand reduction.

 

Mexico: Thank you chair. I believe that many of the proposals need to be reviewed carefully and followed up on in a broad way. We welcome the suggestions of delegations that have suggested incorporating AD into general development. For my country there is an immediate outcome from our efforts; our President made some observations at the opening of this UNGASS. Today the President has sent to congress an initiative which reflect the proposals discussed here, in the framework of a broad process that took place in Mexico in the past months. The President suggests addressing the theme of drugs from a human rights perspective, to address consumption as a public health problem and accordingly this has direct repercussions on treatment; and finally there is a need to focus efforts on the harms but also the benefits by the international community. We recently changed a law to allow for clinical research on marijuana and to not consider up to 28g a crime. Through this initiative, we will stop criminalizing the use of these drugs. These specific measures have taken place in the past few days here at the UN and we are now addressing this issue in a different way with hopefully tangible results.

 

Trinidad and Tobago: Our country supports the outcome document and welcomes efforts for AD and SD. Like the Bahamas we have small levels of production for domestic use, there we do not think that AD would be very successful in our country. Realistically, our major challenges are drug use, micro-trafficking, and those that are lured into trafficking. As noted by previous speakers many people who traffic are vulnerable people like women and youth. Therefore we ask to stop using discriminatory language such as mules. The national guidelines in our country are aiming to create preventative measures which prevent people from falling into the hands of criminal organisations, with the support of civil society. Our target people are mostly 14-28, the age range which is 80% of all our arrests. We look forward to receive more support in our efforts. We welcome initiatives focusing on development and support offered by other governments and bodies such as the UNODC and the GIZ in our hemisphere. I thank you.

 

Indonesia: Let me thank you all for your presentations. Indonesia shares the views that UN development guidelines serves not only as tools for AD. AD is vital to counter the world drug problem as it draws together the SD and organised crime. Indonesia has put eradication of drugs as a national priority. We are willing to use all available resource at hand to reach this. Whilst there is still more that needs to be done, we believe that AD programs are efficient in providing help for people in poverty to prevent them from falling into the trap of growing illicit crops. States that include AD in their national development strategies should emphasize socio-cultural differences whilst following the three drug conventions. Thank you.

 

Peru: Thank you very much. AD has been implemented comprehensively and this has been recognized by Peru and other countries and we have made it a priority with focus on increase cocoa and coffee crops. We have been able to improve our infrastructure and roads so as to connect the production with international markers which helps vulnerable communities. Another aspect is the rural aspects of these communities; we need to improve access to credit and we need to monitor areas better. Many land titles have been granted as part of our model. Growing coca and other illicit substances is harmful to the environment and we have been trying to undo these effects. Finally, we require training and raw material and therefore we have trained thousands of students in that respect. I should underline that sustainable development helps to reduce poverty and aid vulnerable population. In our region we have guidelines to implement AD and their success can be seen at first hand in Peru. We have reduced the amount of crops from Peru that reaches global markets and the UN has described this progress as historical. We need to chose a future of peace and harmony. We do no criminalize the consumer and our policies are focused on gender, social includion and the empowerment of rural communities, all of which is in the three conventions. Finally, you might have seen when you came into the room chocolate which was grown by populations that benefited from AD and now live in prosperity. Thank you.

 

Co-chair: Thank you, we now need to have some responses from the panellists.

 

INCB: Over the years the INCB has recommended AD. We consider it a policy to promotes long-term development and a measure of security created by communities and law enforcement. In our 2005 thematic report, we were one of the first agencies to talk about legitimate livelihoods and today, we are all here together to discuss this issue. Farmers need help to be brought into licit markets. The basic goal is to provide the opportunity for families to escape illicit drug cultivation. There is a lot more that needs to be done than crop substitution and we need to improve all aspects of social and economic life. Farmers need to actively been engaged into these procedures. Successful programes require sustained political will and enough funding. Let me draw attention to some key recommendations. Governments must integrate AD into the broader development program. Those programs should have the long-term commitment of the governments. Programs must continue to build on trust between communities and states and policies need to deal with the various aspects of AD and adequate services such as schooling, infrastructure and health should be provided. Governments should formulate policies that have more in view that just reducing illicit crops. Women and other minorities should be included in all policies. AD can be consistent with the SDGs. Let me thank you for letting me contribute to the discussion today. Thank you.

 

Co-Chair: Thank you to everyone for participating today and we hope that you have benefited from this debate. I will give the chance to the panellists to respond the questions and points raised.

 

Miguel Ruiz Cabanas Izquierdo, Mexico: I feel that two debates have taken place here today. I understand that countries like Thailand, Peru have felt that traditional AD has been successful in their countries, but we also need to focus on the manufacture of drugs, the trade, chemical substances, etc. We need new methods of development in urban zones aimed at combating poverty. The 17 goals of the SDGs highlight exactly what needs to be done and all drug policies should match these. President Humala said something interesting at this session; it is not true that illicit plants are only grown in developing countries, this is not true. The greatest share of cannabis that is consumed in Europe is also grown there. The next comment is on what countries like Ecuador, Argentina, Colombia etc. have said. We need a more comprehensive policy that also combats arms trafficking etc. Our proposal is that we need UN agencies involved in this and that the Vienna office should be the coordinator for this.

 

Marlene Mortler: Ladies and gentlemen, I am impressed with the number of government which have expressed their opinion on this issue. Germany will remain an important partner in the development of AD in the time leading up to 2019. Thank you ladies and gentlemen, thank you Chair.

 

Disnadda Diskul, Thailand: I’m disappointed. We never talk about the demand side. We always discuss AD but drugs will be made when there is a demand. Clapping with one hand doesn’t make any noise. If coca, heroin, cannabis, etc. were brought to New York and no one touched, would we even have any issues to discuss? Secondly, why don’t we talk about weapons? Without weapons, there cannot be drugs cartels.

 

Christian Leffler, European Commission: I would say that the main reason why we have discussed AD today is that it’s because it was the main subject of today’s panel. On the demand side, there has been a stronger focus on the health and wellbeing of the individuals and victims of drug abuse. On the supply end, we need to focus more on helping those vulnerable. On both ends, we see exploitation. We need to fight this exploitation and we need to use tough measures including those that take advantage of the vulnerability of others. But equally we need to look at alternatives. If we look at alternative development, we need to open more opportunities to better and sustainable livelihood. We can only do this if we work cooperatively with those people that we try to reach. We need trust and empowerment at the local level for this. We cannot impost objectives or conditions; we need to develop self-set objectives with those people involved. A last word- financing has been mentioned. More financing is required to help deal with this problem of the illicit drugs trade. We need wider and better regulated legitimate users. We need to find new opportunities and more contributions and private investments so that we can mobilize our resources at national and international level.

 

Nang Pann Ei Kham, Myanmar: Thank you. As I mentioned earlier, alternative development program should put people at its centre and there should no punitive policies. We need to respect human rights and I thank everyone for their contributions. Thank you.

 

Co-Chair: I thank you all for your contributions. I now declare this session concluded.

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