More aid needed to help Andean nations contain drug problem – UN

14 June 2007

While coca cultivation in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia dropped in 2006, all three Andean nations require more development assistance if progress in containing the drug problem is to continue, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report issued today.

While coca cultivation in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia dropped in 2006, all three Andean nations require more development assistance if progress in containing the drug problem is to continue, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report issued today.

UNODC’s “Coca Cultivation in the Andean Region” survey showed that the area under coca cultivation in the world’s main cocaine-producing region slipped to 156,900 hectares in 2006 from 159,600 in 2005. A nine per cent fall in Colombia – the world’s largest cocaine grower – offset increases in Bolivia and Peru.

Global cocaine production was virtually unchanged at 984 tonnes, the report added.

While the overall situation is “stable, yet fragile,” UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa noted that recent evidence suggests that coca cultivation in the Andes “can be, and is being, contained.”

He said consolidating this progress will take a concerted effort at every stage of the drug trade, including more effective prevention and treatment to reduce demand, as well as greater technical assistance and regional cooperation to stop trafficking. It will also require comprehensive national drug control plans, including law enforcement and social and economic development, in order to reduce supply.

According to UNODC, in the Andean region as a whole, the long-term solution does not lie solely with tougher law enforcement and vigorous eradication measures, but rather with tackling the root causes of drug supply and demand.

“All Andean countries require greater support for development assistance that can generate growth and create brighter prospects for communities at the beginning of the supply chain,” Mr. Costa said.

He also encouraged Andean countries to work together to exchange intelligence on drug trafficking and carry out joint operations.

 

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