Work in the field

Member States and UNODC utilize alternative development as the principal method to address illicit drug crop cultivation within the framework of poverty reduction and sustainable development.

UNODC works in partnership with the affected countries, other United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. Currently, UNODC supports and promotes sustainable alternative development programmes and projects in six countries. The focus is on helping small farmers with licit income generation activities to reduce their dependency on income from opium and coca cultivation. Efforts are also centred in the sectors of health, education, basic infrastructure, community development and food security. Special attention is given to environmental protection and improved markets for alternative development products. UNODC-supported alternative development also empowers communities while ensuring that both men and women equally benefit from development interventions.

UNODC's global alternative development activities include developing best practices and lessons learned and improving analysis and dissemination of project results. In-depth studies and evaluations of alternative development programmes and projects are conducted to monitor and track the progress made in areas such as environmental considerations, gender mainstreaming, credit schemes, income diversification, the role of community organizations and sound project monitoring and management at local and national levels. Experience from previous projects has shown that isolated alternative development projects are usually insufficient to bring about sustained change, and that engagement in illicit cultivation needs to be understood and acted upon in terms of how it relates to broader national and regional political, economic, social and development problems. Objectives of human development, sustainable reduction in illicit cultivation, drug control objectives and the lessons learned by alternative development interventions need to be integrated into development policies, strategies and programmes.

The experiences of UNODC's global activities contribute to the establishment of a repository of technical knowledge which is used by governments and UNODC to design new programmes and projects, identify indicators of achievement and benchmarks, develop capacity building programmes and disseminate material for advocacy and resource mobilization.

Currently, UNODC implements alternative development projects in six countries

Afghanistan: General facts Projects

Bolivia (Plurinational State of): General facts Projects

Colombia: General facts Projects

Lao People's Democratic Republic: General facts Projects

Myanmar: General facts Projects

Peru: General facts | Projects

For an overview of the geographic location of UNODC alternative development projects worldwide, click here