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UNODC Mandate on Alternative Development

Alternative Development approach within the United Nations System was pioneered by UNODC (and its predecessor organizations, UNFDAC and UNDCP) from 1971 when work was focused solely on crop replacement and then gradually evolved until it has become a comprehensive and integrated response including drug demand reduction, law enforcement, public education and awareness raising, and the mainstreaming of AD in the wider socio-economic development framework by the end of 90s. UNODC was formally mandated by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 68/196 (2013) which acknowledged the prime responsibility of UNODC related to drug control matters and reaffirmed Alternative Development as one of the tools to fight against the world drug problem. In the context of Afghanistan, the international community has consistently reiterated the role and responsibility of UNODC to lead the counternarcotics action including AD:

  • Extraordinary Leaders’ Meeting on Afghanistan held by G20 on 12 October 2021, concluded, inter alia, that “security, including counterterrorism, and development are intertwined” and that “illegal trafficking – including of human beings, narcotics and weapons – is a serious crime and source of instability and financing for terrorist groups”. The G20 committed to “advocate international support to the UNODC strategy to eradicate the production of narcotics in Afghanistan and provide counter-terrorism assistance in order to promote security and stability in the area”.

  • On 17 March 2022, the UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 2626 expressing “concern over the cultivation, production, trade and trafficking of illicit drugs in Afghanistan which continue to pose a threat to peace and stability in the region and beyond, calling upon states to strengthen international and regional cooperation to counter this threat and recognizing the important role of UNODC in this context”.

  • UNSC Resolution 2679 adopted on 16 March 2023 requested an approach among relevant political, humanitarian, and development actors, within and outside of the United Nations system, in order to address the current challenges faced by Afghanistan, including narcotics.

  • Special Representative of the Secretary General noted during her briefing to the UN Security Council on 21 June 2023 that “Taliban’s ban on opium cultivation, announced in April last year, has been effectively enforced in many parts of the country. According to initial media reports, cultivation of opium has significantly decreased. At the same time, the opium economy has helped sustain parts of the rural economy in Afghanistan. Donors should consider allocating funding to alternative livelihood programmes that address the specific needs of farmers affected by the ban.”

UNODC Global AD Programme