Bulletin on Narcotics, Volume LXI, 2017

Alternative Development: Practices and Reflections

image of Bulletin on Narcotics, Volume LXI, 2017

This special issue of the Bulletin on Narcotics s part of a broader process that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has undertaken to develop a thematic field of research on alternative development. It elaborates on the thematic chapter of the World Drug Report 2015 by showing in more detail the evolving debate around alternative development and the new ways in which it is implemented in practice. The World Drug Report 2015 documented how alternative development interventions have evolved over the years, reaching a multidimensional approach beyond the single focus on reducing illicit drug cultivation, while recognizing that adequate funding and political support bring the long-term socioeconomic and environmental development needed to sustain the reduction of income from illicit crops. The country case studies presented in this special issue show that there are opportunities to improve alternative development and come up with more sustainable solutions, but they also highlight how complex the local contexts can be in areas where alternative development is implemented. While there can be no single blueprint for successful and sustainable alternative development interventions, this issue of the Bulletin on Narcotics shows how alternative development can be most effective, how it can be better integrated within broader development and governance efforts, and how it can be linked more strongly to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.



Integrated development with coca in the plurinational state of bolivia: shifting the focus from eradication to poverty alleviation

The innovative “coca yes, cocaine no” policy of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, in place since 2006, provides valuable insight into the benefits of a sustainable livelihood approach to supply-side drug crop control without prior forced eradication. While the policy has inevitable limitations, its focus on the social welfare, human rights and economic stability of coca-farming families has proven effective and sustainable in diversifying the economy and fostering political and economic stability. The direct participation of communities and grass-roots organizations, such as the coca grower unions, in finding more effective and sustainable approaches to drug control have been crucial elements in its success. The elements of the policy’s key programme also correspond with the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the United Nations in 2015.


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