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Welcome address at the side event on "Promoting Sustainability in Alternative Development (AD) – Results of the 2022 Expert Group Meeting on Alternative Development”

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

Esteemed Colleagues,

It is a great pleasure for me to be able to welcome you at this side event to the 65th Session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs on “Promoting Sustainability in Alternative Development (AD) – Results of the 2022 Expert Group Meeting on Alternative Development”.

I only took over as the German Federal Government’s Drug and Addiction Commissioner at the beginning of this year. However, I have been working on drug policy for some time and, as a member of the German Bundestag, I also participated in the 2016 Special Assembly of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS) in New York.

And I have been engaging with development topics for almost 30 years. I was therefore all the more pleased that during the course of the UNGASS, they were declared as one of the seven pillars of international drug policy.

To begin with, on behalf of the German Government, I would like to express our thanks to all our hosts and co-hosts for their outstanding cooperation in making this happen: the Government of Peru, the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Mae Fah Luang Foundation under royal patronage as well as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The Mae Fah Luang Foundation and UNODC are also both partners in the Global Partnership on Drug Policies and Development (GPDPD) project, whose patronage I took over with great enthusiasm not too long ago. Daniel Brombacher and all the other colleagues, a very big thank you for the preparation of this event.

Cooperation with all these partners is important to the Federal Government. Since it will enable us to turn Alternative Development into the vital foundation of a sustainable strategy to address illegal drug cultivation. And, time and again, it will provide us with a platform for open and trusting dialogue with many of the key figures in drug policy from around the world in the areas of policy-making, science and civil society.

I am pleased that today’s speakers will be presenting the results of the Sixth Expert Group Meeting on Alternative Development. These meetings were initiated in 2016 as a follow-up to UNGASS and serve to re-evaluate the role of development issues as well as to effectively align global drug policy with the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs).

The results of these expert meetings are a crucial input in the draft resolutions put forward to the CND by the partners of this initiative.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At this stage I would like to solicit your support for our draft resolution this year, which we submitted together with Thailand and Peru. The link between alternative development, drug cultivation and environmental issues was one of the focal areas of this year’s expert meeting.

Alternative development must achieve several goals at once. Since our world is pretty complex. It must

  • create legal livelihoods for the affected communities in areas that cultivate drugs,
  • protect the environment,
  • promote climate change mitigation and adaptation.

And, to cap it all, it must ensure the full compliance with international human rights standards and should guarantee gender equality and the effective involvement of the communities affected.

This is all a lot at once – but it’s worth it!

The German Federal Government continually advocates for open debate on the nexus between drug and development policy at international level, including within the CND context. Evidence-based, development-oriented drug policy is of high priority to the German Federal Government and we hope that our efforts will be reflected in this debate by an even greater commitment from the Member States.

I would like to now once more warmly welcome all the participants to this event.

Thank you for your attention.