UNODC and Censipam to formalise partnership to combat drug cultivation in the Amazon

Brasilia, 4 September 2019 - In order to discuss and formalise a partnership to combat drug cultivation and trafficking on the Amazon border, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) met last Tuesday (3), with the Amazon Protection System Management and Operational Center (Censipam, by its acronym in Portuguese).

Censipam's General Intelligence Coordinator, Raimundo Camargos, stated that the institution plans to targets its efforts at combating  illicit activities in the Amazon. To this end, he seeks to develop a project with UNODC to enable the monitoring of illicit cultivation using existing capability of algorithms and radar that detects automatically any coca or cannabis area.

"Censipam already has partnerships with inspection and security agencies, such as the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA, by its acronym in Portuguese), the Federal Police Department (DPF), the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) and seeks to benchmark agencies and institutes that already carry out similar work and learn from their methodologies," He said.

The coordinator of UNODC's Rule of Law Unit, Nivio Nascimento, confirmed his interest in the project and noted the vast experience of the region's offices on the subject. "UNODC's offices in Peru, Colombia and Bolivia have great expertise in monitoring the cultivation of illicit substances and can assist Censipam in this program," He said.

"Currently, Brazil is the second largest cocaine consumer in the world and if coca leaf planting takes place near borders or within the Brazilian territory, drug supply in the country could undergo unprecedented change, causing worrisome impacts on demand", added Nivio Nascimento.

Nivio suggested that Censipam's representatives visit three UNODC offices in the region: in Peru, due to illicit-border activities; in Colombia, for being the largest office with extensive experience in information management and, lastly, in Mexico, for its work in identifying poppy and cannabis plantations

"Mexico's experience is of interest to Censipam, as the cultivation of cannabis in Brazil is camouflaged by vegetation. The example of cannabis cultivation on the border between the Amazon rainforest and the caatinga in Maranhão is difficult to identify, because the plantation is very similar to that of cassava. and is camouflaged by the forest, "said Raimundo

Monitoring and evaluation

UNODC's  monitoring and evaluation expert, Vinicius Couto, also participated in the meeting and  suggested that, in addition to monitoring illicit crops, there should be a cross-checking and mapping of the criminal groups involved.

According to Censipam, in the case of the Peruvian border, the production is carried out through indigenous labor, specifically by the Ticuna ethnic group. The territory of this ethnic group is divided between Peru and Brazil and, thus, the information regarding those involved in Peru can be easily communicated to the Brazilian tribes.

Censipam and UNODC believe that working in partnership with the Peruvian local police may facilitate access to data regarding the criminal groups involved and whether illicit cultivation relates to other activities such as wildlife trafficking, deforestation and illegal timber sales

Formalising Partnership - Timeframe

In late October, Censipam's  representatives are expected to visit the agency representing the Sivam (Amazon Surveillance System) in Peru, as well as the UNODC Office to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between UNODC and Censipam.

In November, the parties are to sign a binding document.

Throughout the second half of this year, the two institutions plan to hold technical meetings to define a project plan that includes identification of work teams, knowledge transfer, training workshops, and the elaboration of a project  with general, specific objectives, methodology and timeframe

About Censipam

Created on April 17, 2002 and linked to the Ministry of Defense, Censipam's mission is to integrate information and produce updated knowledge for the articulation, planning and coordination of global government actions in the Brazilian Legal Amazon, aiming at protection, social inclusion and sustainable development in the region.

Censipam is the responsible body for managing the Amazon Protection System (Sipam), which is made up of various government agencies acting in partnership in the Amazon region. Censipam is responsible for proposing, monitoring, implementing and executing SIPAM-oriented policies, guidelines and actions, approved and defined in the Deliberative Council of the Amazon Protection System (Consipam), established in 2002, linked to the Presidency of the Republic.

Censipam seeks to develop a system that detects the planting of illicit substances through synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite images. This technology can capture terrain images through clouds which can be used during day or night.

Based on Censipam's expertise in the use of SAR images, research projects are being promoted in partnership with educational institutions to develop technology for the detection of irregular crops.




To know more:       The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals       


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