Many myths surround coca. Every day press accounts around the world use the word coca in their headlines, when in fact they refer to cocaine. TNI's Drugs and Democracy Team exposes the myths and reality surrounding the coca leaf.
The coca leaf has been chewed and brewed for tea for centuries in the Andean region – and does not cause any harm and is probably beneficial to human health. Yet the leaf is treated as if it is comparable to cocaine or heroin. The inclusion of the coca leaf in the list of narcotic drugs raises questions about the logic behind the current system of classification under the UN conventions. TNI believes we can find a more culturally sensitive approach to plants with psychoactive or mildly stimulant properties, and should distinguish more between problematic, recreational and traditional uses of psychoactive substances.
Social movements need to grapple with not only building successful political parties and winning power but also with using that power strategically to best implement change. This report examines the critical role played by Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) government employees and the challenges they faced in advancing a social and economic justice agenda within Bolivia. How can progressive government employees remain true to their political ideology while ensuring the execution of a professional and fair public bureaucracy?
In support of our long-term goals, which also indicate the type of work TNI does, an ambitious five-year programme was developed in 2014. Although 2018 only marks the mid-point in implementation, impressive progress is already apparent.
TNI’s work is in the news almost every working day of the year. Together with our partners, we enjoy wide coverage in national and international news outlets from around the world. Here are some of the highlights from 2020 of which we are particularly proud.
After more than a decade of processes that brought hope to the progressive world, several developments in Latin America in 2016 suggest we have reached the end of a cycle of left-wing victories in the region. This is a crisis that offers pointers and important lessons for us all, about the dynamics of social transformation and about ourselves as activists.
Getting to the Briceño region in the heart of Antioquia requires an excellent vehicle, and a lot of time and luck. The week before our journey there in mid-July, heavy rains wiped out part of the road between Briceño and Pueblo Nuevo, stranding folks on one side or the other. We were lucky on the day of our journey – no rain. But it took a six-hour drive to get from Medellín to Briceño, and another three hours of sometimes harrowing curves to Pueblo Nuevo. The dirt-road drive itself was a stark reminder of the challenges Colombia faces as it seeks to eliminate 50,000 hectares of coca this year through the crop substitution program, Programa Nacional Integral de Sustitución de Cultivos de Uso Ilícito (National Comprehensive Program for the Substitution of Illicit Crops), known by the acronym PNIS.
A new phase of ‘foreignization’ and land grabbing is occurring via value-chain relations in Bolivia. Exogenous forces from some BRICS and MICs are penetrating Bolivia’s countryside and drastically changing social relations of production, reproduction, property and power.
The Netherlands has long been considered a leader of progressive drug policy, but it is increasingly being left behind by policy innovations outside Europe. Nonetheless Dutch cities are leading the way towards more progressive and locally adapted cannabis policies. Produced as part of a the "New Approaches in Harm Reduction Policies and Practices" project, this Country Report seeks to understand the drivers of Dutch cannabis policy today, and the possibilities for its future.
In the 1990s Switzerland was one of the leaders of a movement towards harm reduction for heroin users. Today, the country is also re-thinking its cannabis policy, with municipalities pushing for experiments in more progressive models of regulation, and citizens pushing for legislative reform. Produced as part of a the "New Approaches in Harm Reduction Policies and Practices" project, this Country Report seeks to understand the drivers of Swiss cannabis policy today, and the possibilities for its future.
Towns and cities stand at the heart of the new public future. Between 2000 and 2019, there were over 1400 new cases of “municipalisation” or “remunicipalisation”, the creation of new public enterprises run by local governments or the return of privatised enterprises to municipal hands. This trend occurred across 2400 locales in 58 countries.
This debate on Thursday 25 October focusses on the impact of pollution on indigenous peoples as well as the working of national and international legal instruments, in particular The Hague Court of Arbitration. How does it operate? Who are the judges? Who benefits?
Around the world, millions of people depend on the cultivation of coca, opium poppy and cannabis for basic subsistence. The 1961 Convention introduced strict controls on the cultivation of these plants and banned centuries-old traditional medicinal, cultural and ceremonial uses. The 1988 Convention reinforced those provisions, obliging states to eradicate illicit cultivation and to impose criminal sanctions.
Heino Stöver, Ingo Ilja Michels, Bernd Werse, Tim Pfeiffer-Gerschel
29 March 2019
While medical cannabis is well accepted in Germany and small-scale possession is officially decriminalized, many cities are struggling with high levels of street dealing. A number of cities are pushing for different kinds of public "experiments" in legal distribution that would allow them to better control cannabis in their jurisdictions. Produced as part of a the "New Approaches in Harm Reduction Policies and Practices" project, this Country Report seeks to understand the drivers of German cannabis policy today, and the possibilities for its future.
After decades of tolerance, cannabis policy in Denmark has seen increasing crackdowns, driven by fears about violence and illegal drug markets. However, some activists and politicians argue that another way is possible. Produced as part of a the "New Approaches in Harm Reduction Policies and Practices" project, this Country Report seeks to understand the drivers of Danish cannabis policy today, and the possibilities for its future.
An official policy of giving a low law enforcement priority to small-scale possession or production of cannabis for personal use led to the emergence of Cannabis Social Clubs around Belgium. However, the attitude to cannabis can vary widely at the local level, and the future of these organised user groups is unclear. Produced as part of a the "New Approaches in Harm Reduction Policies and Practices" project, this Country Report seeks to understand the drivers of Belgian cannabis policy today, and the possibilities for its future.
Multistakeholder approaches are becoming ever more dominant, shaping standards for products, setting the rules for global initiatives and increasingly entering every arena of global governance including the UN. What is the driving force behind these initiatives? To whom are they accountable? What are the implications for social movements seeking to challenge unjust power relations within states and globally?