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CHAPTER II Points of future interest


Impact of illicit drug production and of alternative development interventions

FIG. 82.

Weakening of the rule of law

Falling poverty and strengthening of the rule of law

Rising illicit drug production

Reduction in overall growth of the licit economy

Vicious circle

Strengthening of organized crime and increasing violence

Alternative development

Reduction of investment into licit sectors

Increase in overall growth of the licit economy

Falling illicit drug production

Virtuous circle

Weakening of organized crime and falling violence

Increase in investment into licit sectors

Source: UNODC.

part of a nationwide strategy for poverty elimination. The discussion in this chapter has shown how alternative development, within this broader meaning, has contributed to economic development (mostly in rural areas) in order to target the underlying factors and root causes of illicit drug economies. The new Sustainable Development Goals (the post-2015 development agenda) could bring a new vision and provide alternative development with a new theoretical framework, adding to socioeconomic development — its “traditional” pillar. New elements such as the rule of law and the development of “effective, accountable and inclusive institutions”, as described in Goal 16 in the report of the Open Working Group of the General Assembly on Sustainable Development Goals,150 are, in part, already addressed by alternative development. These elements have been more prominently recognized as part of sustainable development in the Sustainable Development Goals. This section discusses alternative development in the context of this broader vision of development by highlighting some of its key elements.

Impact of illicit drug production and alternative development interventions At the national level, the income made by farmers from selling narcotic crops is not substantial in relation to overall national economies: the total farm-gate income from illicit opium and coca production amounted to some $2.6 billion in the six main opium and coca-producing countries (Afghanistan, Bolivia (Plurinational State of ), Colombia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Peru) in 2013, ranging from less than 0.2 per cent of GDP in Colombia to about 0.9 per cent in the Plurinational State of Bolivia, 1 per cent in Myanmar and 4 per cent in Afghanistan. The economic value of illicit crop cultivation can, however, be far more significant for communities living in the main opium-producing and cocaproducing areas than at the national level. For example, 150 A/68/970.

the Province of Helmand in Afghanistan holds just 3.4 per cent of the country’s total population but accounts for close to 50 per cent of the total area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. About 27 per cent of the total agricultural area in Helmand was under opium poppy cultivation in 2013 and the farm-gate value of opium production there may have reached more than one third of the province’s licit GDP.151 In general, the economic development of rural communities affected by the illicit cultivation of crops depends heavily on illicit sources that do not foster a “healthy” process of economic development. In the long run, areas where large-scale illicit crop cultivation takes place tend to perform less well than other areas as they are often deprived of productive private and public investment, often because of high levels of insecurity. Thus, the International Narcotics Control Board, reviewing the relationship between illicit drugs and development, pointed out that there was a negative correlation between illicit drug production and the economic growth of a country.152 The World Bank reported that in Afghanistan “opium is becoming ‘capitalized’ in the economy and society, affecting agricultural sharecropping and tenancy arrangements, land prices, urban real estate, bride prices in opium-producing areas, etc.” and that “this entrenchment of the opium economy and long-term dependence on it will discourage the sustainable development of other economic activities. For example, with rents and sharecropping arrangements increasingly based on opium in many rural areas of the country, it becomes virtually impossible for other cashearning agricultural activities to take hold.”153

151 See the methodology section in the online version of this report. 152 Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 2002 (E/INCB/2002/1). 153 William Byrd and Christopher Ward, Drugs and Development in Afghanistan, World Bank Social Development Papers, Paper No. 18, December 2004.



World Drug Report 2015  

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Bones Private Collection

World Drug Report 2015  

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Bones Private Collection