United Nations Guiding Principles on Alternative Development (A/RES/68/196)

2. Alternative development, as an integral component of policies and programmes for reducing drug production, is an important, viable and sustainable option for preventing, eliminating or significantly and measurably reducing the illicit cultivation of crops used for the production and manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances through tackling poverty and providing livelihood opportunities.
  • Alternative development
7. Civil society can contribute significantly to the formulation of effective and sustainable alternative development programmes, and its active participation should therefore be encouraged in all phases of alternative development programmes.
  • Civil society engagement
  • Alternative development

18. (k) To ensure, when considering crop control measures, that small-farmer households have opportunities for viable and sustainable licit livelihoods so that the measures may be properly sequenced in a sustainable fashion and appropriately coordinated, taking into account the circumstances of the region, country or area concerned; (…)

(v) To apply, in addition to estimates of illicit cultivation and other illicit activities related to the world drug problem, indicators related to human development, socioeconomic conditions, rural development and the alleviation of poverty, as well as institutional and environmental indicators, when assessing alternative development programmes in order to ensure that the outcomes are in line with national and international development objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals, and that they reflect accountable use of donor funds and truly benefit the affected communities; (…)

(ii) To promote local ownership and participation of the involved parties in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of alternative development programmes and projects;

(jj) To foster empowerment, including articulation, communication and participation, of the community and local authorities and other stakeholders, to sustain the achievements of the projects and programmes;

(kk) To take into account land rights and other related land management resources when designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating alternative development programmes, including those of indigenous peoples and local communities, in accordance with national legal frameworks;

  • Alternative development
  • Development/SDGs
  • Civil society engagement

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Since the 2009 Political Declaration, the agreed language is to refer to “illicit cultivation of crops used for the production and manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances”. While an improvement to earlier references to “illicit crops” or “drug crop cultivation”, the addition of “psychotropic substances” makes no sense because plants and cultivation were excluded from controls under the 1971 Convention. So according to the treaties “illicit cultivation of crops used for the production of psychotropic substances” does not exist. This still needs to be corrected.

The wording used in the non-binding Alternative Development guidelines is weaker than the 2009 Political Declaration that speaks of “have adopted” instead of “have opportunities”