Drugs & Development Hub

Rethinking drug policy

Phenomena, policies and programmes related to drug economies are often viewed too one-sidely. Yet, the interplay of different perspectives is vital in order to understand and address the complexity of drug economies, as well as their social, economic and ecological consequences. 

 

Together with the London School of Economics (LSE) and the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC), the Global Partnership on Drug Policies and Development (GPDPD) has launched an initiative to bridge this divide and create new perspectives for an integrated drug policy: the Drugs & Development Hub (DDH). The idea is to bring together academics, decision-makers and people affected by drug economies to highlight and discuss new approaches, data, initiatives and networks. The focal points are rural as well as urban regions in the countries of origin and transit of illicit drugs, which are often particularly affected.

 

Together with the London School of Economics (LSE) and the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC), the Global Partnership on Drug Policies and Development (GPDPD) has launched an initiative to bridge this divide and create new perspectives for an integrated drug policy: the Drugs & Development Hub (DDH). The idea is to bring together academics, decision-makers and people affected by drug economies to highlight and discuss new approaches, data, initiatives and networks. The focal points are rural as well as urban regions in the countries of origin and transit of illicit drugs, which are often particularly affected.

 

In the Colombian capital of Bogotá, the platform was officially launched in January 2020 in the context of a workshop and a public event at the renowned Universidad de los Andes. The focus was on three thematic areas: development-oriented approaches to drug economies in rural as well as urban areas, and the resilience of communities affected by drug cultivation and trafficking. The DDH was also presented at the 63rd Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) Side Event on March 6, 2020.

 

In the next phase of the DDH, the GPDPD is looking to further develop their partnership with GI-TOC in coordinating the Hub’s activities and expanding its geographic focus to Africa. This is based on the view that Africa is a key and emerging continent in managing the world drug problem, and the opportunities that exist for fostering new discussions on drug policy based on the principles and lessons of Alternative Development and Sustainable Development.

 

In October 2021 the second phase of the DDH was launched with a lively webinar organised jointly with the African Union and the University of Cape Town in showcasing ground-breaking research and fuelling policy-oriented discussions with regional experts from diverse African regions. The webinar was only the first of a series planned on exploring the drugs and development debate in Africa. These digital events will be accompanied by the publication of a podcast series, two short films examining issues of drugs and development in specific African countries and a Special Issue publication as part of the Journal of Illicit Economies and Development (JIED).

 

While the need for a development orientation to any successful drug policy initiative has enjoyed increased recognition and acceptance, states too often remain misinformed or sceptical of the outcomes of development policies in relation to drug control. This misinformation stems mainly from the absence of platforms for debate. A platform like the DDH offers space for discussion and provides the opportunity to build bridges between diverse perspectives to rethink drug policy.

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Podcasts:

AFRICA and the Global Illicit Economy:

 

Episode 1 - African Drug Markets and Alternative Development