Organized by the Governments of Colombia, Germany, Peru and Thailand, and the Thailand Institute of Justice.
Chaired by HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand.
Yury Fedotov, UNODC: In order to achieve the SDGs, the international community must address drug challenges. Drug control efforts and efforts towards SDGs are complementary. The UNGASS outcome document confirms support of member states to AD as a fundamental component in addressing illicit cultivation and wellbeing. UNODC has supported the implementation of these programmes for 40 years. Last year, UNODC’s annual report focused on the interplay AD and drug challenges. It’s successful if supported by financial credit and infrastructure, access to land, access to market, environmental sustainability, community ownership, etc. UNODC worked closely with Thailand and Peru on AD. UNODC has developed a series of guidelines on this topic. UNODC delivers technical assistance on the issue, including in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Laos, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. These initiatives help address peace and security, food security, environmental protection, health, etc. The international community needs to step up in its support for AD. We need to close a gap between commitment and action. UNODC’s expertise and experience is at member states’ disposal to achieve SDGs and make alternative development support people who need it most.
Marlene Mortler, Drug Commissioner of the Federal Government, Germany: Thailand and Germany look back at more than 3 decades of excellent relationships in drug policy, especially on AD. In drug policy, the Thai-German Highland Development Programme (1981-1998) assisting the countless initiatives of His Majesty, the King, to develop the Northern provinces of Thailand, made a meaningful contribution to counter problems related to illicit drug crop cultivation. This cultivation is a development problem. It needs to be addressed through integrated development initiatives. Thailand, Peru and Germany have promoted the UN Guiding Principles on AD, adopted by the General Assembly in 2013. In 2015, Germany hosted an international conference on AD to implemente these principles. I am proud to further enhance this partnership, within the framework of the GPDPD. Around this table, we are aware of the high level of violence and insecurity that many people in drug crop cultivation are exposed to. Small scale farmers whose livelihoods depend on cultivating coca, opium poppy and cannabis, live in areas marginalised, rife in violence and ruled by the strongest. They have not experienced the positive effect of welfare. Their relationship with state institutions is often characterised by mistrust. Sustainable implementation of AD requires promotion necessary framework conditions: human security and the rule of law play a fundamental role. The root causes: poverty, lack of access to market and food security, fragile state institutions, need to be addressed. The UNGASS Outcome Document was an important step forward. The chapter on AD highlights the importance of development-oriented drug policy and established a strong linkage to the 2030 agenda and SDGs. Furthermore, it reflects the increasing endorsement of AD among members. More and more countries have integrated development-oriented approaches into their national/regional drug strategies, broadening the scope towards trafficking and urban drug markets. The current drug control system does not address this correctly, as it over focuses on repressive action and not addressing the root causes. There is still no broad consensus to accept SDGs as goals of drug control. How to achieve this? We need to reform how we measure success. Focus on human development. Drug supply indicators exclusively are not enough. Markets are volatile, the decrease of poverty is more sustainable. We need to revaluate how we define success. In cooperation with agencies with experience in AD. The Outcome Document gives clear guidance on how to strengthen our response to the world drug problem. Germany wants to review the role of development within the framework of drug control.
Mariana Escobar, Director of the Agency for the Renovation of the Territory, Colombia: Strong correlation between violence in the internal conflict and the production of coca. Today, coca has over 8 million victims of the internal conflict. 7 million were displaced or dispossessed of their land. The expansion of illicit crops has underpinned this humanitarian crisis, given the financing role to insurgent groups. Coca is, however, concentrated on 33 municipalities (of about 1000 municipalities). But difficult to access. Tumaco accounts for 20% of the coca growth. It has as much or more coca than Bolivia. The Peace Accords we subscribed with the FARC, after 60 years of war, offers an opportunity to redefine what rural development means. It aligns with the SDGs. Our new comprehensive rural development policy doesn’t focus only on the agricultural, but the provision of public goods, land formalisation and titling, and also drug policy. This is important because consumption has grown. We have to de-mine large areas of the country. Encourage voluntary eradication but engage in forceful eradication where needed. Our idea is to help coca growers with the agreements, which has instigated non-growers to engage in cultivation. A challenge that we are addressing. We are working with a territorial focus, that doesn’t stop at coca: substitution plans, reparation, de-mining, ethno-development. We want to think development from the bottom-up, which demands an active and effective community participation.
Carmen Masías, DEVIDA, Peru: I will present the case of Monzón. In 2012, it had 12 ha of coca, and 6,000 families kidnapped by traficking. Until 2016, 5,500 families have left illicit coca crops. They’re cultivating cocoa, coffee and other licit croups. It now has better infrastructure to negotiate prices, facilitate access to markets, develop training, etc. The population became active actors of change in their community. Peace has returned to Monzón.