News and Events

UNODC, UNIDO join forces to promote development in rural communities dependent on drug crops

19 March 2012 - UNODC and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) will join forces to promote grass-roots development in poor rural communities dependent on the cultivation of illicit drug crops.

An agreement on this was signed in Vienna today by UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, and UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella.

"The memorandum of understanding will help establish a strategic partnership in the spirit of One UN that supports sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in countries such as Afghanistan," said Mr. Fedotov. [Read more]


UNODC supports rural women to improve health and alternative livelihoods

8 March 2012 - Today, the world marks International Women's Day, the theme for this year being "Empower rural women - end hunger and poverty". UNODC is working with rural women in parts of Asia and Latin America to equip them with knowledge relating to sources of livelihood that are alternatives to the cultivation of illicit crops used in the manufacture of illegal drugs, such as heroin and opium, to address drug abuse and HIV and to protect the environment.

Rural women play a critical role in global development - they enhance agricultural and rural growth, improve food security and can help to reduce poverty levels in their communities. In some parts of the world, women represent 70 per cent of the agricultural workforce, accounting for 43 per cent of agricultural workers worldwide, according to the United Nations. Yet rural women face many obstacles, including lack of proper health care, limited resources, illiteracy, hunger and poverty. [Read more]


Coffee instead of coca: Peruvian farmers reap fruits of their labour

14 February 2012 - Wilson Sucaticona is proud of his achievements. Last year, his coffee earned first prize in the National Coffee Quality Competition in Lima for the fourth time.

"I have worked in the coffee fields with my father since I was twelve years old. When I turned 18, my father gave me a one-hectare field so I could start planting my own coffee," he recalls. At the same time, adds Wilson, his family cultivated coca because income from coffee was too low to sustain them. [Read more]


Thai alternative development projects showcased at international workshop

2 December 2011, Chiang Mai (Thailand) - Farmers cultivating illicit drug crops are usually among the most marginalized in society. Providing alternatives for them has been a major challenge for drug control efforts in South East Asia over the past four decades. One of the most successful approaches to this problem has been what some specialists call "alternative development" whose aim is simple: decrease poverty by providing legal and sustainable livelihood opportunities to farmers.

Promoted strongly by UNODC and governments of the handful of countries which still grow illicit poppy and coca leaf, this approach also aims at creating favourable conditions in terms of environment, policy and law. [Read more]


Colombia: from illicit drugs to sustainable livelihoods

26 September 2011 - Some 80,000 farmers' families in Colombia depend on illicit coca bush cultivation to survive. UNODC runs projects to wean farmers off illicit crop cultivation by encouraging them to pursue alternative livelihoods, which is the best way to end the lure of illicit crops.

Today, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, visited Tarazá, in Antioquia Department, where many alternative development projects are under implementation. Accompanied by Ms. Catarina Martinez, High Representative of the Presidential Agency for Social Action, he saw how organic rubber and cocoa plantations have created jobs for hundreds of families. UNODC works closely with rural communities, including in Antioquia, where a project worth $8 million receives over 80 per cent of funds from the local government. [Read more]


From coca monitoring to sustainable farming

16 May 2011 - An important part of any country's drug crop eradication efforts is the promotion of alternative development - a process that encourages farmers to better utilize their land for legal farming purposes and offers them the skills needed to move away from illicit practices.

In Bolivia, UNODC has been working closely with authorities to assist in this process and to better utilize land usage through promoting the growing of licit crops in place of coca bushes. In addition to turning to a legal, viable alternative and reducing the flow of drugs out of the country, the process works towards ensuring a more sustainable supply of food goods and a more environmentally friendly approach to agriculture. [Read more]