Alternative Development programmes, aimed at encouraging peasants to switch from growing illicit drugs-related crops, play an important role in UN drug control strategies. The record of success, however, is a questionable one. Decades of efforts to reduce global drug supply using a combination of developmental and repressive means, managed to shift production from one country to another, but have failed in terms of global impact. TNI argues for delinking alternative development from the threat of forced eradication and law enforcement and guaranteeing peasants the support required for a sustainable alternative future.
One of the least controversial proposals in the FARC peace accords is the idea of crop substitution and alternative development in these regionsIban De RementeriaThe Conversation (US)
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Colombia’s current peace process is facing numerous challenges. In a country that has suffered the worst impacts of the international drug war, one main dilemma is this: what to do with rural regions which have specialised in producing coca leaf, the main ingredient in one of the world’s most lucrative products? The uncomfortable truth about international agricultural markets is that only in illicit ones are poor local producers able to sell their product for a price that actually covers the cost of inputs: land, labour and capital. In a globalised world, illegal crops such as coca, cannabis and poppies are poor farmers’ rational response to the ruinously low prices of imported subsidised farm products.
Land is one of the key factors of production in the drug economy
"For many communities in Myanmar who grow opium, for them opium is not the problem, it is the solution to their problems," said local project consultant, Tom Kramer, from the Transnational Institute. And therein lies one of the greatest challenges for policy makers in the fight to eradicate the scourge of drug crops in developing countries. Most drug crop cultivating areas are greatly affected by poverty, physical isolation, landlessness, insecure land rights and conflicts over natural resources. For many poor farmers, the cultivation of drug crops represents a coping mechanism to prevail in difficult environments.READ MORE...
Tom KramerBrookings Institute
This paper explores the current state of counternarcotics policy and policy reform debates in Myanmar. It analyzes the main trends in drug production, trafficking, and consumption, and assesses the key harms and threats these pose to the country. The paper will provide an overview of Myanmar’s current drug policies and related legislative framework, and assess whether these are effective in addressing the drug-related problems in the country.
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As long as the amount of hectares eradicated remains the main indicator for success, sustainable development losesPien MetaalStatement at the 58th Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND)
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Conditioning Alternative Development (AD) participation to previous eradication should be abandoned as a policy, since it has proved to be counterproductive. As long as the amount of hectares eradicated remains the main indicator for success, sustainable development loses. The voice of the primary stakeholders will be represented in the preparations for UNGASS through the organisation of a Global Forum of Producers of Prohibited Plants. Their participation in the design and implementation of development policies are fundamental.READ MORE...
Julia BuxtonGDPO Policy Brief 2
This report argues that ‘drugs’ are a development issue and must be recognised as such by development agencies. The cultivation of opium poppy, coca leaf and cannabis for anything other than medical and scientific purposes is prohibited under the UN 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol. However conditions of marginalisation and exclusion have sustained the cultivation of these low capital input/high yield drug crops. Poverty, insecurity and inequality also exacerbate the vulnerability of ‘bridge’ states to trafficking activities. These factors are development concerns requiring economic and political solutions.
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Relapse in the Golden TriangleMartin Jelsma Tom Kramer Tom Blickman Ernestien JensemaTransnational Institute (TNI)
TNI's indepth examination of the illegal drug market in the Golden Triangle, which has witnessed a doubling of opium production, growing prison populations and repression of small-scale farmers. This report details the failure of ASEAN's 'drug free' strategy and the need for a new approach.
Bouncing Back - complete report (pdf, 4.6MB)
Chapter Alternative Development (pdf, 1.37MB)
Chapter Harm Reduction (pdf, 1.59MB)
Chapter Conflict, Crime and Corruption (pdf, 1.42MB)
Chapter Conclusions (pdf, 1.07MB)
In July 2013 TNI and Paung Ku organised the First Southeast Asia Opium Farmers Forum, bringing together some 30 representatives of local communities involved in opium cultivation and local community workers from the major opium growing regions in Southeast Asia: Chin, Kachin, northern and southern Shan, and Kayah States in Burma/Myanmar and Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India.
Current drug control polices in the region are repressive and criminalise opium farmers, and have greatly affect the lives of the communities cultivating opium. However, until now these communities have had little or no influence on the design of these policies. Aim of the forum was to identify the main concerns of opium farmers and formulate alternative policy options that respect the rights of producers’ communities, and involve them in decision making processes.
Ricardo VargasDrug Policy Briefing Nr. 41
The fourth item on the agenda of talks “to end the conflict,” on the issue of drugs, seems to reflect rather a flat and simplistic view of the classic circuit of drug production, processing, trafficking and use. The relationship between drugs and armed conflict in Colombia is in fact much more complex. This report analyses the challenges that drug trafficking poses to the development of a sustainable peace.
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Why the issue of illicit cultivation is highly relevant to the peace processAmira ArmentaTNI Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 40
The distribution of land and its unjust use are the major causes of violence in Colombia. For this reason land issues are the starting point of current peace talks between the Santos government and the FARC guerrillas. Remedying these structural problems at the heart of rural Colombia is the best guarantee of progress of the current peace negotiations that could bring an end to a half-century-old violent conflict.
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Guiding Principles and developing alternatives for illicit crop producing regions in PeruMirella van Dun, Hugo Cabieses Cubas and Pien MetaalTNI Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 39
At the International Conference on Alternative Development (ICAD), held 15-16 November 2012 in Lima, the Peruvian Government continued to insist on the relevance of “Alternative Development (AD),” with particular emphasis on the so-called San Martín “miracle” or “model.” The model, started with the support of international cooperation, is proposed by Peru as a paradigm to be followed worldwide by regions and countries that also deal with problems associated with crops grown for illicit purposes.
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