FOR PARTICIPANTS ONLY
1 December 1997
FOR COMMISSION ON NARCOTIC DRUGS ACTING AS PREPARATORY BODY FOR THE SPECIAL SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY DEVOTED TO THE FIGHT AGAINST THE ILLICIT PRODUCTION, SALE, DEMAND, TRAFFIC AND DISTRIBUTION OF NARCOTIC DRUGS AND PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES AND RELATED ACTIVITIES
Third informal open-ended inter-sessional meeting
Vienna, 5 December 1997
Item 2 of the provisional agenda*
ERADICATION OF ILLICIT NARCOTIC CROPS
AND PROMOTION OF ALTERNATIVE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES
A Global Plan for the Elimination of Illicit Narcotic Crops
PROPOSAL BY THE UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL DRUG CONTROL PROGRAMME (UNDCP)**
** This document has not been edited.
Introduction and Action Required by the Commission
1. To assist Member States in reducing the illicit supply of narcotic drugs, in compliance with their obligations under the international drug control treaties, the United Nations international Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) has developed a global plan for the elimination of illicit narcotic crops, which is annexed herewith. The plan takes into consideration the lessons and experience which the Programme has acquired from its activities in the field of alternative development. lt will draw on the experience and support of Governments, bilateral and multilateral assistance, and intergovernmental organizations.
2.The outline of the global plan is being brought to the attention of the third informal openended inter-sessional meeting of the Commission for information. The meeting is invited to propose that the Commission, at its next meeting in its capacity as preparatory body for the Special Session of the General Assembly, approve the plan and recommend its endorsement by the General Assembly at its Special Session in June 1998.
A Global Plan for the Elimination of Illicit Narcotic Crops
A. The issue
1. During the past 25 years, the United Nations has guided international efforts to eliminate the illicit cultivation of the opium poppy in South-East and South-West Asia. Twelve years ago, a similar initiative was launched in the Andean region to eradicate the coca bush. Some landmark achievements have been made, particularly by the Islamic Republic of Iran, Pakistan, Thailand and Turkey, in eliminating the illicit cultivation of the opium poppy which is currently concentrated in two countries: Afghanistan and Myanmar. Trends of the cultivation of the coca bush have remained stable with Bolivia, Colombia and Peru, accounting for 98% of production.
B. Outcome of past efforts
2.Past initiatives to eradicate illicit narcotic plants have met with mitigated success, with no large scale impact on the illicit supply of narcotic drugs, particularly heroin and cocaine. This resulted partly from the outcome of the absence of a comprehensive global strategy founded on the full-fledged commitment of the donor community and recipient countries, and the unfavourable political conditions which prevailed during the Cold War era.
C. The Global Plan: Its objectives and approach
3.The proposal for a global plan for the elimination of narcotic plants was endorsed by the Secretary-General and the Senior Management Group, i.e. the Cabinet of the United Nations, on 12 November 1997. The objective of this United Nations plan is to eliminate illicit cultivation of the opium poppy and the coca bush worldwide, as an important component of the drug control strategy of UNDCP, based on a balanced approach. While the main objective of the plan is to reduce the illicit supply of opiates, particularly heroin and cocaine, the package of measures envisaged will address other related aspects of drug control, particularly the suppression of illicit traffic, and demand reduction. Demand reduction strategies covering prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of drug abusers, will be an important part of the plan.
D. A fresh global approach to eradicate narcotic crops
4.The launching of the global plan is based on a constellation of favorable factors:
- First the plan will build on the experience gained and the lessons learned from the various initiatives to eliminate illicit narcotic crop cultivation. Past policies and programmes have provided improved knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of alternative development and other associated measures, such as law enforcement and institution-building. As a first step in formulating the global plan, UNDCP will undertake a study to evaluate the success of efforts to reduce illicit cultivation during the past ten years. The field experience of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme in alternative development and its location in the key
- countries affected by illicit cultivation, puts it in a unique position to play a catalytic and coordinating role in mounting this global plan in collaboration with Member States, the United Nations system and interested organizations, such as the financial institutions.
- Second, the plan is being initiated at a time when Governments are committed to eliminating illicit cultivation. This is reflected in the adoption of article 14 in the 1988 Convention and the recurrent requests of the General Assembly, since the establishment of UNDCP, for increased priority to be given to alternative development with the objective of eliminating illicit drug production. In recognition of the collective responsibility of all Governments to counter the drug problem, the donor community has shown strong support for alternative development, viewing rural development as a means to counter the drug economy. Several recipient countries affected by illicit cultivation have invested considerable resources in their efforts to sustain alternative development. An important recent trend has been the pledges of the international financial institutions, particularly the regional development banks, such as the Inter-American Development Bank, to assist concerned Governments in alternative development programmes.
- Third the plan's global approach will avoid the fragmentation which characterized previous initiatives to eliminate illicit cultivation. These were often conceived as isolated technical assistance projects targeting specific local situations without an overarching plan to address the problem in a comprehensive manner. The objective of the plan is to provide the critical mass required to make an impact on the situation at the local, national, regional-and global levels. Our experience, as demonstrated in Pakistan and Thailand, is that whenever a critical mass has been provided, along with the strong political support of Governments, illicit cultivation was eliminated.
- Fourth, the global plan will cover the displacement effects, an issue which was too often neglected in previous initiatives to reduce illicit cultivation. This is essential in order to ensure that success in eliminating illicit cultivation in a targeted part of a country would not contribute to the displacement of cultivation to other parts.
- Fifth, a system to monitor the extent of illicit cultivation will be established. This will enable an on-going assessment of the impact of eradication efforts and the
monitoring of the possible displacement of illicit cultivation. Several Governments and commercial enterprises have proposed the use of their remote sensing technology and services to monitor the application of programmes to eliminate narcotic crops. The use of remote sensing
technology, which overcomes the legal obstacles traditionally associated with overflight and the security of aircraft, will facilitate the monitoring of illicit narcotic crops. As appropriate, remote sensing capacity will be combined with ground surveys', to replicate the positive experience of UNDCP in the survey of illicit poppy cultivation in Afghanistan.
- Sixth, the international community has a proven methodology which has evolved from our field experience in initiatives to eradicate illicit cultivation of the opium poppy and the coca bush. During the 1970s and 1980s the approach evolved from (i) eradication by force or through compensatory schemes, to (ii) crop substitution, premised on the belief that removing the economic incentives to grow illicit crops would lead to their replacement, to (iii) alternative development. That is, integrated rural development centred on the elimination of illicit crops through income-
- generating activities, and improving the overall quality of life of the target population through the provision of education, infrastructure and social services.
E. Factors influencing successful application of the Global Plan
5. While the elaboration of the global plan rests on a unique combination of favorable factors and circumstances, its successful application will depend on a series of factors, which includes the following:
- A long term financial and political commitment by national and local authorities to initiatives targeting illicit cultivation. The active involvement of local groups and communities in the design and development of alternative development programmes is also required in order to ensure ownership of the programmes by the targeted local communities.
- The provision of a coordinated programma of technical assistance based on a clear division of labour. UNDCP would play its catalytical role and focus on the drug control objectives, and other programmes of the UN system, the international financial institutions, multilateral and bilateral agencies, would direct their efforts to the integrated development objectives, particularly the reduction of rural poverty through income generating activities.
- The incorporation of demand reduction components (prevention, treatment and rehabilitation) in alternative development programmes, in line with the identified priorities of local communities.
- As alternative development is a long-term objective its success will depend on favorable conditions, particularly the commitment to enforce agreements or arrangements between concerned parties to eliminate illicit cultivation. This would entail the successful blending of alternative development initiatives with law enforcement measures to provide a credible deterrent. The main challenges at the local level will include the strict application of existing legislation and arrangements, with due respect to human rights, and resisting the corrupting influences of drug trafficking networks.
- The effectiveness of monitoring systems to measure the extent of illicit cultivation, progress in eradication, and the displacement effect of illicit cultivation, if any.
6. The Programme's strategy, aimed at reaching the target of eliminating illicit cultivation of the coca bush and opium poppy world-wide, will require careful planning and a flexible approach. lt is an ambitious initiative, combining alternative development, a monitoring capacity, law enforcement action and demand reduction programmes. Given the commitment of Member States, the United Nations and civil society to drug control, it remains a viable target for the twenty-first century.