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UNIS/NAR/694
5 September 2000
UN: No Plans for "Biological War" on Coca

Drug Control Programme Head Refutes Report
Of Proposal to Test Fungal Herbicides in Colombia

 

VIENNA, 5 September (UN Information Service) - The United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention today released the following statement:

The head of the UN's global anti-drug efforts today blasted "sensational and distorted" media reports that the world body was developing and testing fungal herbicides for a sweeping "biological war" on Colombia's illicit coca crop.

"This is simply not true", said Pino Arlacchi, Executive Director of the Vienna-based UN International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP). "The main element of our strategy in Colombia is alternative development. In this context, we were considering working with the Colombian government and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to develop an environmentally safe alternative method to crop elimination through aerial spraying. However, no agreement could be reached."

Mr. Arlacchi "regrets the oversimplifications and distortions regarding biological control in general". The approach, he added, was not new but has been practised successfully in agriculture for over 100 years to protect such crops as rice, soybeans, cotton and wheat.

"The very environmental and social concerns raised in the media in connection with fungal herbicides are precisely those which UNDCP, the Colombian Government and the UN Environment Programme intended to address", Mr. Arlacchi stated.

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