Panel Discussion: Connecting Drug Policy and Forest Protection


On Tuesday, 19 September 2017, “Global Partnership on Drug Policies...

On Tuesday, 19 September 2017, “Global Partnership on Drug Policies and Development” (GPDPD) and “Protection of Forests and Climate/REDD+” hosted a panel discussion on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The event took place at the Ibero-American Institute (IAI) – a unique interdisciplinary center that is part of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. Besides the IAI, the Drug Commissioner of the Federal Government and the Thai Mae Fah Luang Foundation co-operated in the evening’s organization. The event was generously supported by the Royal Thai Embassy in Berlin.

On behalf of the BMZ and under the political patronage of the Drug Commissioner of the Federal Government, the project GPDPD cuts across multiple sectors and geographical regions in the field of Alternative Development. At the same time, REDD+ advises the Colombian Ministry for Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS) on the matter of reducing deforestation in the country.

The illicit cultivation of coca-plants leads to massive deforestation. This causal relation is not well known, because the role of the drug economy within the armed internal conflict has long been in the center of interest. On the international level, however, development-oriented approaches gain more and more influence compared to repressive measures in dealing with the world drug problem. As a result, the outcome document of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS) 2016 for the first time contains a whole chapter dedicated solely to developmental issues.

In this context, both projects jointly support measures against deforestation focusing on coca cultivation in Colombia - an innovative approach among the fields of international cooperation and drug policy. The exchange with Thailand plays a major role. During the event, the Thai Ambassador to Germany H.E. Dr. Dhiravat Bhumichitr presented how Thailand managed to overcome illicit poppy cultivation almost completely with the help of alternative development measures. In cooperation with GPDPD, the Thai Mae Fah Luang Foundation conducts training formats for Colombian authorities both in Colombia and in Thailand.

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