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Logo: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Logo: Drogenbeauftrage der Bundesregierung

Rural development instead of drug cultivation – Minister Müller and German Drug Commissioner Mortler on World Drug Day


Federal Minister Gerd Müller visiting a model farm in Colombia specialised in producing natural rubber

26.06.2015 |

On the occasion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on 26 June, Minister Gerd Müller and the Drug Commissioner of the Federal Government, Marlene Mortler, announced that they would further increase their activities against drug cultivation worldwide. World Drug Day 2015 focuses on alternative development. Through its global project "Global Partnership on Drug Policies and Development" under the patronage of the Drug Commissioner, the German government wants to focus on development policy in drug cultivation regions and foster alternative development on the ground.

Development Minister Gerd Müller said, "Germany is one of the main consumer countries for illicit drugs from developing countries. So we share responsibility for making sure that these countries find a sustainable way of dealing with the drug problem. People in drug cultivation areas need alternatives. In Colombia, for instance, we support projects that help smallholders to tap alternative sources of income – coffee and rubber instead of coca; this is about sustainable agriculture and comprehensive rural development."

Marlene Mortler said, "Germany is an international leader in development cooperation in support of alternative development. Drugs policy is also development policy! Through this project of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) under my patronage, we are once more considerably increasing our related activities. We want to give low-income farmers realistic alternatives to drug cultivation. This approach needs to become an integral part of drug policies worldwide. This is what we are working for. By fostering legal agricultural activities, for instance in Colombia and in Myanmar, we are creating true alternatives to organised drug crime."

The United Nations World Drug Report 2015 shows that donor countries have so far provided relatively little support for development projects to address the drug problem. The German government is therefore using its G7 Presidency to establish this issue more firmly on the international agenda. Yesterday, for example, Marlene Mortler and the Colombian Minister of Justice jointly opened a G7 event in Berlin which focused on the special role that alternative development plays for the stabilisation of regions engulfed in civil war. International drug policy trends show that more and more countries are focusing on development and health rather than exclusively on repression. In this regard, Germany is a pioneer for a modern policy on drugs.

For about 30 years now, the German government has been working for development-oriented drug policies in the countries where illicit drugs originate. Together with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the BMZ supports relevant activities, for instance in Peru and Bolivia, where projects seek to foster legal cocoa and coffee cultivation. In Myanmar, impoverished poppy farmers are given alternative income opportunities through vegetable cultivation and animal husbandry. These activities will be expanded and taken to more partner countries through the Global Partnership on Drug Policies and Development. The experience gained with this programme is to inform the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem, which will be held in New York next year.

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