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Producers of coca leaves, cannabis and opium poppy from Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Asia and experts and NGO representatives gathered at the first world forum in Barcelona, Spain from January 29 to 31, 2009 in Barcelona, Spain. The forum provided a space for sharing experiences and reflecting on ways to protect the human rights of affected communities and promote alternative models of sustainable development.
Why peasants from certain regions of the world cultivate the three plants – coca leaves, cannabis and opium poppy – that the international conventions have declared to be illicit? That was the essential question that was discussed at the First Global Forum of Producers of Crops Declared to be Illicit (FMPCDI), that took place in El Prat de Llobregat near Barcelona on January 29-31, 2009.
News about the disappointing content of the Political Declaration to be adopted at the High Level Segment of the 52nd Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) next week in Vienna is filtering to the outside media. Meanwhile, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is gearing up to claim success for the failing international drug control system.
A group of judges from different countries gathered in Porto, Portugal, and drafted the Declaration of Porto in which they state that "public drug policies have proved an outright failure, as they have neither achieved their desired goals of reducing drug consumption, nor been able to effectively persecute large criminal organisations."
The corporate-controlled World Water Forum in Istanbul has been marked by repression of protestors, but also strong resistance to pro-privatisation policies from both civil society and some Southern governments.
The 2009 Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), and its High Level (political) Segment (HLS), was a key moment where the conclusions and recommendations resulting from the January Barcelona Forum could be transmitted and distributed. This was done to make more policy officials aware of the difficult situation faced by farmers cultivating the plants that have been declared illicit.
On 21 September 1976, Transnational Institute discovered the brutal cost of fighting for economic and social justice, when Chilean secret service agents set off a car bomb in Washington DC killing TNI's director, Orlando Letelier along with Ronni Moffitt, a fundraiser for the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). It has taken more than 30 years of struggle to bring some of those responsible to justice.
The assumption that reducing opium production would lead to less drug use has been proven wrong. It has instead contributed to a pattern of an increased use of stronger drugs and more harmful patterns of use.