Buenas tardes estimados amigos. Es un placer estar en Antioquia en compañía de todos ustedes.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Colleagues and friends,
Prosperous communities are at the heart of security and sustainability.
Providing people with the right opportunities is necessary if we wish to see them survive and thrive on industries that are both licit and productive.
The farming communities of this beautiful region are a prime example of the potential for fighting illicit economies with better opportunities.
Antioquia has historically been affected by illicit economies involving drug trafficking, illegal mining, and deforestation, along with the violence brought about by those activities and the criminal groups involved.
Despite these circumstances, local communities have continued to seek legal alternatives for progress and income.
I want to express my solidarity and admiration for the resilience shown bythe farmers of Antioquia in the face of difficult odds. Their efforts hold important lessons.
The experience of the CORPOGANSA rural organization shows that by working together, it is possible to support legal economies that respect the environment and generate sustainable incomes.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is eager support these efforts, to help the region’s communities in tackling the causes and consequences of illicit economies, and to work with them towards better livelihoods.
Today, I am with you here in Antioquia to take an important step on this journey.
Together, we are celebrating a remarkable project that will help generate sustainable income for farmer communities in the dairy business.
Supported by UNODC and the Agencia de Desarollo Rural, more than 200 families under the CORPOGANSA organization will benefit from the establishment of a state-of-the-art milk processing plant.
With over 2.9 million dollars invested in the project, the plant will have a production capacity of around 4 tons per day, and its financial returns are set to grow by 5% per year over the coming five years.
Through this initiative, we will also help connect local communities with markets that are looking for quality products with social value.
Our Office was very pleased to provide specialized technical assistance to help lay the foundations for a strong start.
This project is rooted in our shared trust in the communities that wish to move away from illicit economies, and our willingness to bet on economic and social development as a deterrent to crime and violence.
I wish acknowledge our partners in Colombia, who have been essential to our work supporting rural communities.
I am grateful to the Government of Colombia and proud of our long-standing partnership to promote security and development across the country, and to support its different communities.
I would also like to thank the ADR for our collaboration. Together we have helped 276 organizations and 17,500 families in 24 departments of Colombia since 2016, with projects to strengthen production, improve associative capacities, and support in commercializing agricultural products.
And of course, I would like to thank the members of the CORPOGANSA organization, for the example they are setting with this work.
Ladies and gentlemen,
For more than 20 years,UNODC has been supporting the implementation of alternative development programs in Colombia, to fight the drug economy and create new alternatives in the most remote rural areas. We have supported more than 230,000 families and more than 1,000 local organizations.
We are very proud of what we have achieved with you, and the new CORPOGANSA project is a worthy example.
But our work is not over.
We remain committed to collaborating with the Government of Colombia, regional governments, and community leaders.
We will continue to work with you to build national and international alliances, develop innovative, environmentally sustainable projects, create equal opportunities for all, and support Colombia's peace, security, and prosperity.
In closing, I would like to thank you for welcoming me to your home. It is a real pleasure to get to know this region and its people.
Muchas gracias por su generosa hospitalidad.