• Rewriting history

    A response to the 2008 World Drug Report
    TNI Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 26
    June 2008

    The world today is not any closer to achieving the ten-year targets set by the 1998 UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs. These goals were “eliminating or significantly reducing the illicit cultivation of coca bush, the cannabis plant and the opium poppy by the year 2008.” Instead global production of opiates and cocaine has significantly increased over the last ten years. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) global illicit opium production doubled from 4,346 tons in 1998 to 8,800 tons in 2007. This is mainly due to the massive increase in opium production in Afghanistan. The estimated global cocaine production increased from 825 tons in 1998 to 994 tons in 2007, an increase of 20%.

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  • The current state of drug policy debate

    Trends in the last decade in the European Union and United Nations
    Martin Jelsma
    Article submitted as support material for the First Meeting of the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy
    Rio de Janeiro, April 30, 2008

    Martin Jelsma, from the Transnational Institute, prepared an analysis for the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, explaining the drug policy situation in the European Union and the current state of debate in the United Nations agenda. The commission is an initiative born of former presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso, from Brazil, César Gaviria, from Colombia and Ernesto Zedillo, from Mexico, to respond to concerns related to the problems of drug consumption and traffic in Latin America. The idea to constitute a commission capable of consolidating a debate concerning this problematic also responds to the necessity of reviewing the world drug policies in the scope of the United Nations, which began in March 2008.

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  • Missing Targets

    Counterproductive drug control efforts in Afghanistan
    Martin Jelsma Tom Kramer
    TNI Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 24
    September 2007

    Despite efforts by the Afghan government and the international community to reduce poppy cultivation, opium production in Afghanistan has once again reached record levels in 2007. The United Nations Office on Drugs  and Crime (UNODC) annual survey estimates that 193,000 hectares is under poppy cultivation, a 17 per cent increase on the record levels of 2006, yielding a harvest of 8,200 mt (an increase of 34 per cent). The main policy instruments to bring down these figures - eradication of opium poppy fields and implementing alternative livelihoods projects - are missing their targets.

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  • Sending the wrong message

    The INCB and the un-scheduling of the coca leaf
    Martin Jelsma
    TNI Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 21
    March 2007

    The INCB, rather than making harsh judgements based on a selective choice of outdated treaty articles, should use its mandate more constructively and help draw attention to the inherent contradictions in the current treaty system with regard to how plants, plant-based raw materials and traditional uses are treated.

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  • Losing Ground

    Drug Control and War in Afghanistan
    Cristian Rivier Martin Jelsma Tom Kramer
    TNI Drugs & Conflict Debate Paper 15
    December 2006

    The worsening armed conflict and the all-time record opium production in Afghanistan have caused a wave of panic. We are losing ground. Calls are being made for robust military action by NATO forces to destroy the opium industry in southern Afghanistan. But intensifying a war on drugs in Afghanistan now would further fuel the conflict, which is the last thing that the country needs.

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  • 'Paco' Under Scrutiny

    The cocaine base paste market in the Southern Cone
    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    TNI Drugs & Conflict Debate Paper 14
    October 2006

    Based on two studies carried out in the cities of Buenos Aires and Montevideo, this report examines the origin, characteristics and impact of the explosive increase in cocaine base paste in urban areas. It also highlights the variety of products consumed in these cities and the substance known as crack that is consumed in Brazilian cities. The Brazilian experience with this consumption could serve as an example and a lesson for the Southern Cone.

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  • Coca Yes, Cocaine No?

    Legal options for the coca leaf
    Mario Argandoña, Anthony Henman, Ximena Echeverría Pien Metaal Martin Jelsma Ricardo Soberón
    TNI Drugs & Conflict Debate Paper 13
    May 2006

    A decade-old demand to remove the coca leaf from strict international drugs controls has come to the fore again. Time has come to repair an historical error responsible for including the leaf amongst the most hazardous classified substances, causing severe consequences for the Andean region.

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  • Downward Spiral

    Banning Opium in Afghanistan and Burma
    Martin Jelsma Tom Kramer
    TNI Drugs & Conflict Debate Paper 12
    June 2005

    Opium farmers in Afghanistan and Burma are coming under huge pressure as local authorities implement bans on the cultivation of poppy. Banning opium has an immediate and profound impact on the livelihoods of more than 4 million people. These bans are a response to pressure from the international community. Afghan and Burmese authorities alike are urging the international community to accompany their pressure with substantial aid.

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  • Broken promises and coca eradication in Peru

    Ricardo Soberón
    TNI Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 11
    March 2005

    The forced crop eradication policy implemented by the Peruvian government over the past 25 years has failed. The official strategy has exacerbated social conflicts; contributed to various types of subversive violence; jeopardized local economies, also affecting the national economy; and destroyed forests as crops have become more scattered. Worst of all, it has not resolved any of the underlying causes of drug trafficking, such as poverty, marginalisation and government neglect.

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  • Plan Afghanistan

    Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 10
    January 2005

    In November 2004 an unknown mystery plane sprayed opium poppy fields in eastern Afghanistan. Although the US denied any involvement, the US State Department is pressing for aggressive aerial eradiction campaigns to counter the booming opium economy. Due to policy controversies the State Department had to back off. At least for the time being. The spraying took place at a crucial moment in Afghanistan. While Karzai was elected as president on 5 November, some in the US administration were pressing to step up US involvement in drug control. The new approach emerged from a high-level administration review in the summer of 2004 of US operations in Afghanistan. The review acknowledged the seriousness of the drug problem and the ineffective past measures to confront it.

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