63rd session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND)
Vienna, 2 - 6 March 2020
Statement by Ambassador Gerhard Küntzle at the side event „Challenges in the role of development in drug control policies“
Let me warmly welcome you on behalf of the Federal Government of Germany to our joint side event on alternative development with our dear colleagues and partners from Peru, Thailand and the UNODC.
At the outset I wish to congratulate the Government of Thailand which is celebrating 50 years of Alternative Development (AD)! Germany as one of the major donors for AD has been active in this area for more than three decades.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am worried. Worried by the fact that the global scale of opium poppy and coca cultivation is at record highs. We have reached an unprecedented level of production of heroin and cocaine and more people than ever die of overdose.
I am worried by the fact that according to UNODC Research Branch the funding for alternative development was in 2017 at around 275. Mio. US-Dollar, while the actual revenue from drug trafficking in some countries is as high as 10 Billion Dollars – a year.
I am worried by the fact, that illicit drug crop cultivation and rural drug economies fund armed conflict and organized crime, destabilizing entire countries and regions.
I am worried by the fact that illicit drug crop cultivation and trafficking fuel massive deforestation, degradation of soils and pollution, contributing to climate change and global warming.
We must take these challenges more seriously. The funding situation is not satisfactory, and our efforts are so far minimal compared to what criminal networks may be capable to invest.
Even though it may be promising at first sight, merely focusing on the eradication of crops is not sustainable. The root causes of illicit drug economies remain intact if we do not address them properly.
Not the illicit crops should be at the core of our concern, but the poverty, marginalization and lack of access to licit markets that drive people to engage in the illegal drug business.
Beside some other Member States, Germany and the EU have been major funders for alternative development in the past years. We kindly invite others to consider strengthening their global engagement towards a more development-led approach.
Our joint efforts need to go hand in hand with a thorough discussion on the lessons we have learned from our long-standing efforts in alternative development.
Therefore, Thailand, Peru and Germany with the UNODC have jointly established a series of Expert Group Meetings in order to update our policies on how to address the globally expanding illicit drug crop cultivation and related issues.
We are truly grateful for this close partnership and would like to convey our dearest gratitude to the government of Thailand and the Mae Fah Luang Foundation for hosting in December 2019 the latest of these meetings in beautiful Doi Tung with remarkable hospitality.
We are impressed by the number of Member States who have taken up the approach of alternative development, adopting a more development-led approach in their domestic or regional drug strategies.
This series of Expert dialogues is a best practice case for the rules-based and trustful multilateralism we are adhering to. It is also a best practice for the very much needed dialogue between governments, international organizations, civil society and academia.
Global dialogue and multilateralism are the key instruments to address the global drug problem. Germany is a proud contributor to maintaining the channels for dialogue wide-open; either through Expert Group Meetings or through the Brandenburg Forum on Drugs and Development Policies that we have recently hosted with our partners from Norway, the Netherlands, Transnational Institute and International Drug Policy Consortium.
The results of the intense debates at the Expert Group Meeting are reflected in a joint resolution and a conference room paper circulated to delegations.
I would kindly ask you for your support in endorsing this resolution.
I will make use of this opportunity to highlight another very important issue: One key insight of Germany’s long-standing engagement in alternative development has been the crucial role women play in successful development interventions.
Thank you very much for your attention.