LIMA – Representatives in charge of the anti-drug policies of the countries comprising the Organization of American States approved the formation of a working group on alternative, integral and sustainable development, Peru’s National Drug Control Commission, or DEVIDA, said in a statement on Thursday.
The decision was taken at the 58th regular session of the OAS’s Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, or CICAD, being held from Nov. 11-13 in the Peruvian city of Trujillo, 570 kilometers (354 miles) north of Lima.
DEVIDA chief Alberto Otarola said the group will comprise experts in alternative development and be chaired by Peru.
He added the group will be a high level technical space to discuss the experiences of each country as well as the principles of alternative development and the new trends, threats and problems facing it.
He defended alternative development as a strategy of social integration to build human and social capital through efficient economic, environmental, political and social sustainability projects.
“We must think of transverse strategies for comprehensive development and which offer at-risk populations opportunities to stay and generate a respectable income in their communities,” said Otarola, adding “it will contribute to reducing massive unemployment among young people who would otherwise become a recruitment ground for drug traffickers.”
The director of the OAS Department of Public Security of the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security, Paulina Duarte, praised Peru’s recent achievements in curbing the illegal cultivation of the coca leaf.
“We see that policies, which cover all aspects of the problem, yield the best results in reducing drug consumption,” stressed Duarte.
She indicated that such comprehensive policies should address all aspects – control of illegal cultivation, curbing drug trafficking, alternative development, international cooperation, decentralization and especially, prevention policies.
The CICAD meeting brings together experts and representatives of 35 countries of the Americas, including Guatemalan Minister for Foreign Affairs Carlos Raul Morales, and Peruvian Interior Minister Jose Perez Guadalupe.