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Saturday, 17 May 2014 00:00

Joint Communique #36: Partial Agreement on Illicit Drugs

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The Delegations of the Government and the FARC -EP report that:

We have reached an agreement on the fourth item of the agenda contained in the "General Agreement for the termination of the conflict and the construction of a stable and lasting peace", third in discussion, called "Solution to the problem of illicit drugs".

We have reached agreement on the three sub-points of point 4 of the General Agreement:

1. Programs for the substitution of the illicit use of crops. Comprehensive development plans with community participation in the definition, implementation and evaluation of substitution programs and environmental recovery of areas affected by these crops.
2. Programs for the prevention of consumption and public health.
3. Solution to the phenomenon of production and trafficking of narcotics.

We believe that:

The internal conflict in Colombia has a long history of several decades; it is previous to and has causes which are oblivious to the emergence of the illicit use of crops and to the production and trafficking of illicit drugs in the territories.

The persistence of crops is linked in part to the existence of poverty, marginalization, weak institutional presence, as well as to the existence of criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking.

To contribute to the purpose of laying the foundation for building a stable and lasting peace, it is necessary, among other things, to find a solution to the problem of illicit drugs, including the illicit use of crops and the production and trade of illicit drugs.

The production and trade of illicit drugs and criminal economies has had serious impact on the Colombian population, affecting the enjoyment and exercise of their rights and freedoms.

The growing, production and trade of illicit drugs have also penetrated, fueled and financed the internal conflict.

The end of the conflict should be an opportunity to build a joint and comprehensive solution to the problem of illicit drugs.

It is necessary to draw a new vision that addresses the causes and consequences of this phenomenon, especially by presenting alternatives that lead to improving the well-being and good living conditions of the communities in the territories affected by the illicit use of crops; address the consumption with a public health approach and to intensify the struggle against criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking, including related activities like illicit financing, money laundering, trafficking in precursors and the struggle against corruption, breaking the entire value chain of drug trafficking.

This new approach involves seeking new evidence-based alternatives, which treats the phenomenon of consumption and the problem of the illicit use of crops differently from the problem of organized crime associated with drug trafficking.

We aspire to become a peaceful country without the problem of illicit drugs and we are aware that achieving this purpose also depends on consensus and definition of global reach by all states, particularly those that directly or indirectly have been affected by this problem of transnational character.

These policies should be subject to the exercise of the principles of sovereign equality and non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states and must ensure coordinated action in the framework of international cooperation, to the extent that the solution to the problem of illicit drugs is the collective responsibility of all States.

We agreed that to build sustainable solutions and to ensure the rights of citizens and the non resurgence of the problem, the policy that will be undertaken must have a territorial approach, based on citizen participation and the special presence and strengthening, in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and transparency, of the institutions responsible for social care and for the safety and security of communities, both with a focus on human rights.

That these policies will give a special treatment to the weakest links in the value chain of drug trafficking, i.e. the growers and consumers of illicit drugs, and they will strengthen efforts to dismantle criminal organizations.

That the policy must maintain the recognition of old and traditional uses of the coca leaf, as part of the cultural identity of the indigenous community and the possibility of the use of illicit crops for medical and scientific purposes and other lawful uses to be established.

Regarding the first sub-point, Programs for the substitution of illicit crops, we have agreed that the Government will create and launch a new National Comprehensive Program for the Substitution of the Illicit Use of Crops - PNIS in Spanish - as part of the structural transformation of the countryside carried out by the Comprehensive Rural Reform, and in order to generate material as well as intangible well-being and good living conditions for the population that has been affected by the illicit use of crops, particularly for rural communities in poverty which now derive their livelihood from these crops. This way, we should find a sustainable and definitive solution to the problem of the illicit use of crops and all the problems associated with it in the territories.

We agreed that the transformation of the territories and the alternatives for the communities affected by the illicit use of crops will start from the joint and participated construction between these and the national, departmental and municipal authorities, in order to find a solution to the problem of the illicit use of crops and the overcoming of poverty.

The program requires the broadest possible participation of communities, including those directly involved with the crops, in order to formulate, implement and monitor municipal and community comprehensive Plans for substitution and alternative development, through a participatory planning process.

Women 's participation will be ensured.

An indisputable basis for the final solution to the problem of the illicit use of crops is to be found in its voluntary and concerted character and therefore the clear willingness of communities to experiment alternative roads, different to illicit crops, and in the commitment of the Government to generate and guarantee decent living and working conditions for their well-being.

We agreed that the various proposals made by the community assemblies will be the basis for the construction of municipal comprehensive plans for substitution and alternative development for those areas affected by the illicit use of crops, which will be developed and implemented with the active participation of communities, including territorial social organizations. Within the framework of the municipal plan and taking into account the proposals of the respective assemblies, community plans - which will be an integral part of it - will be developed. Both municipal and community plans are built between communities, national, municipal and departmental authorities, and the Program, which is the competent national authority.

The municipal plan that integrates the community proposals and consists of community plans will be the basis for the implementation of the Program.

To implement the substitution plans, the community organizations will be contracted first and job creation in the areas of application will be promoted.

The supportive measures of the Program will be conditioned to the compliance with the commitments made ??by growers within the framework of the agreements on substitution and no-replanting. All this in the understanding that the process of substitution and sustainability needs government support, within the terms agreed upon with the communities. In any case, there should exist a full commitment not to grow or be involved in tasks related to these crops, or participate in the illegal trade of raw materials derived from illicit crops.

In cases in which, in the framework of the agreements with the communities as part of the Program, there are growers who don't make the decision to replace illicit crops or who violate commitments without there being a fortuitous event or force majeure despite the efforts of the Program and communities to persuade them, the Government will proceed with manual eradication, after a process of socialization and information with the communities.

In cases where there is no agreement with the communities, the Government will proceed with the eradication of illicit crops. Priority will be given to manual eradication whenever possible, taking into account the respect for human rights, environment and living conditions. The FARC-EP considers that whenever eradication is necessary, it should be manual.

In order to protect the communities, guarantee the right to life and well-being of the rural population, de-mining has to be ensured, too. Therefore, the National Government, after signing the Final Agreement and in the context of its implementation, will implement a program of de-mining and clearance of those areas of the country that might have been affected by landmines and unexploded ordnance.

This is a common purpose to which Government and FARC-EP will contribute by different means and each insofar as it concerns them, including the provision of information under the terms established by the Final Agreement and as part of the shared commitment to the end of the conflict and the construction of a stable and lasting peace.

As for the second sub-point of the Agenda, "Prevention programs for consumption and public health", we agreed that the solution requires commitment and joint action by authorities, communities and families, based on a policy of promoting health care, prevention, comprehensive attention of social inclusion, with particular emphasis on children and adolescents.

The policy regarding illicit drug consumption should be a priority and a state policy that requires, among others, capacity building at a national and territorial level, within the social protection system, and the corresponding provision of resources.

We agreed that the Government will create the National Comprehensive Intervention Program regarding Illicit Drug Consumption as a high-level body to articulate institutions with competence in the field and coordinate a participatory process of review, adjustment and implementation of consumption policies.

National policy regarding illicit drug consumption will have a focus on human rights and public health, a differential and gender approach. It will be evidence-based and it will be built and implemented with community participation.

To ensure the review and participatory adjustment of the policies regarding consumption, based on the principles described above, the Government will create a national body with representatives of the authorities with subject-matter expertise, scientific institutions, specialized centers, educational institutions, parents' associations, religious communities and consumers.

We also agreed to design and implement a National System of Support to the Consumers of Illicit Drugs, which should include complementary actions of rehabilitation and social integration.

Based on the political and territorial analysis of illicit drugs use, the Program will promote capacity building of local authorities and it will support them in the participatory formulation and implementation of departmental and municipal action plans regarding consumption, according to the particularities of the territories and different population groups.

Concerning the third sub-point, "Solution to the phenomenon of production and marketing of narcotics", we agreed that as part of the commitment to intensify the struggle against organized crime and its support networks, within the context of the end of the conflict and in order to protect both the communities and the proper development of the Comprehensive National Program for Illicit Crop Substitution, and the implementation of agreements regarding the threat of organized crime (and, in general, to disrupt the networks of these organizations), the Government will implement a strategy of criminal policy, in parallel with the implementation of a comprehensive strategy to combat corruption. The policy should strengthen and qualify the presence and institutional effectiveness and it should focus on investigation, prosecution and punishment of crimes associated with any organization or criminal group involved in the production and sale of illicit drugs, always considering the differential treatment that should be given to farmers and rural people linked to the exploitation of illicit crops.

We agreed the implementation of a new strategy against the assets involved in drug trafficking and money laundering, which includes identifying the value chain of drug trafficking through a process of crime mapping by a group of experts, formulating a new statute of preventing and combating illicit finance. This, among others, in order to adapt, if necessary, or to define and articulate the regulations related to this subject; to qualify, strengthen and, if necessary, redesign or create bodies of research, monitoring and control of financial and money laundering; to implement a new strategy to ensure effective implementation of the annulment of ownership, and, finally, to implement a new national campaign to promote values, alert on new forms of money laundering and encourage citizen participation and capacity, in the spirit of point 2 of the General Agreement.

We also agreed that the National Government will review and establish strict state controls on the production, import and marketing of inputs and chemical precursors.

We agreed that in the context of a comprehensive strategy of the struggle against corruption, a specific strategy to combat corruption associated with drug trafficking will be developed. It will be based on expert recommendations, including the creation of groups from different institutions, to attack the various expressions of corruption and the people who are responsible for it and to help to improve institutional performance.

Within the framework of the end of the conflict and in order to contribute to the definitive overcoming of the problem of illicit drugs, we agreed that the National Government will promote an International Conference in the framework of the United Nations to reflect, make an objective assessment of anti-drug policy and progress in building consensus on the changes that need to be made. In this aspect, the discussion and new international developments in the field should be taken in consideration, as well as the perspective of the consumer and producer countries and in a special way, the experiences and lessons learned in Colombia, identifying good evidence-based policies.

Finally, we agreed that all this is only possible with the effective engagement of everybody.

The commitment of the Government to implement the policies and programs of this item, to intensify and deal in a decisive way with the struggle against corruption in the institutions, caused by the problem of illicit drugs, and to lead an effective national process to definitely break any relationship of this scourge with all spheres of public life.

The commitment of the FARC-EP to effectively contribute - with the greatest determination, in different ways and through practical actions - to the solution of the problem of illicit drugs and in a scenario of the end of conflict, to end any relationship, which, in the light of rebellion, might have existed with this phenomenon.

The National Government and the FARC-EP express their firm commitment to the ultimate solution to the problem of illicit drugs.

The commitment of the entire society as a whole, including its various forms of political or social organization, to reject any relationship with the problem of illicit drugs and the money from it.

Building a stable and lasting peace requires everybody's willingness to contribute to the clarification of the relationship between conflict and the growing, production and marketing of illicit drugs and money laundering that result from this phenomenon, so that drug trafficking won't threaten the country's destiny ever again.

The agreed elements so far are part of a broader agreement that we expect to reach soon, which contains six points.

We recall that one of the principles guiding the talks is that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed". This means that the agreements that are made are conditioned to a pact on the entire Agenda and they can be adjusted and complemented.

We highlight the contribution of UN Office in Colombia and The Center of Ideas for Peace of the National University in organizing forums that were held on this issue of illicit crops.

We express our gratitude to the thousands of Colombians and social organizations that have sent us their proposals and views on the items of the Agenda through the forums, the Website or the forms that are available in mayor and governors' offices. Each and every one of these proposals have been received, read and considered by the delegations in Havana.

We thank Cuba and Norway, guarantor countries of this process, for their support and for the environment of trust they create. In the same way, we would like to thank Chile and Venezuela, accompanying countries, who are regularly being reported on the progress of the talks by the delegations. In particular, we appreciate their efforts, as well as we appreciate the expressions of support from other nations, international organizations and leaders.

These fundamental agreements are the result of intensive work carried out by both Delegations, always thinking of the desire for peace of Colombian people.

Download full agreement in Spanish