Global Partnership on Drug Policies and Development (GPDPD)

Drug cultivation, trade and consumption are global phenomena. The cultivation of coca leaves, poppy seeds and the cannabis plant, as well as the ensuing production of cocaine, crack, heroin and haschisch, largely occurs in developing countries. Fragile states, in which the drug trade predominantly takes place, are often unable to counter these issues due to limited resources and a limited reach of their state apparatus. Organised crime, armed conflicts and corruption are closely related to the expansion of illegal drug economies and hinder successful development of affected regions. Additionally, families of small-scale farmers involved in the drug cultivation tend to be disproportionately impacted by food insecurity and poverty. Moreover, developing countries are no longer confined to the production and trade of drugs: consumption rates have significantly increased over the past decades compared to the global average.
States affected by these dynamics have begun to rethink their drug policies and to look for alternatives to the conventional ‘war on drugs’. The approach of ‘alternative development’ (i.e. the promotion of alternative crops for cultivation in drug producing regions) and public health approaches (such as harm reduction of drug consumption practices) are becoming more significant. However, interested governments often lack sufficiently developed evidence-based strategies as part of a development and public health oriented drug policy. On top of that, national drug enforcement, health and development agencies currently do not possess the necessary capacities to counter the ongoing expansion of local and regional drug economies.
Problem-solving approach 
The Global Partnership on Drug Policies and Development is a project that cuts across sectors and regions. Its aim is to advance and refine evidence-based development and public health oriented approaches to drug policy in close collabo-ration with interested governments. In trying to find effective ways to tackle the global drug issue, the project draws upon approaches from the sectors of rural development and public health. The project is under political patronage of the Federal Drug Commissioner of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The work of the project is divided into three fields of action. Firstly, the GPDPD fosters the international dialogue on drug policy particularly with regards to the UN Special Session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem (UNGASS 2016), the preparation thereof and the subsequent implementation of decisions made at UNGASS. Activities, including conferences and expert group meetings, are organized jointly with interested Governments (e.g. Great Britain, Colombia, Myanmar, Norway and Thailand). Secondly, the project seeks to improve national drug policies and strategies in bilateral cooperation with countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Practical measures are implemented by a consortium of like-minded organizations headed by the GIZ and including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Thai Mae Fah Luang Foundation and the NGOs Transnational Institute (TNI) and the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC). Thirdly, the scientific basis for evidence-based drug policy is enhanced through re-search on relevant issues.
The IZR-project GPDPD contributes directly to the implementation of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action of 2009 of the United Nations on the world drug problem, the National Strategy on Drug and Addiction Policy of the Federal Government of Germany of 2012, the EU Action Plan on Drugs of 2013 and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Alternative Development of 2013. The GPDPD, on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Corporation and Development and under political patronage of the Federal Drug Commissioner, positions the Federal Government of Germany as an advocate for development and public health oriented approaches within the international debate on drug policy.

Success factors 
The approaches of alternative development and harm reduction as advocated for by the Federal Government are increasingly gaining international recognition. More than three decades of experience of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in consulting developing countries on these concepts are a detrimental success factor of the current project, which enables the formulation and promotion of sustainable approaches to drug policy on an international level. 

Moreover, the GIZ has been working closely with relevant UN organisations, international organisations and NGOs for several years on these topics already. This network of expertise allows the GPDPD under political patronage of the Federal Drug Commissioner to build upon existing structures of cooperation and dialogue in order to effectively advocate for the Federal Government’s approach to drug policy, particularly at conferences such as UNGASS 2016.
Practical examples 
Within the scope of the project’s first field of action, enhancing international dialogue on drug policy, the GPDPD seeks to form alliances with interested governments in preparation for UNGASS 2016 with regards to development and public health oriented approaches to drug policy. These alliances below the UN level identify common positions and subsequently represent these jointly during the negotiating process at UNGASS. In light of these considerations, the project, on behalf of the BMZ and in close cooperation with the Federal Drug Commissioner, organizes a series of events which aim at developing and defining common positions and increasing their visibility internationally.
The project lent its support to the organization of the ‘Inter-national Conference on Alternative Development’ in Thai-land in November 2015, which was carried out by the Federal Drug Commissioner, the BMZ as well as the Governments of Thailand and Myanmar. The results of the conference were presented as a joint resolution, co-sponsored with Thailand and Peru, during the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) 2016 and adopted by the community of states. Thus, central aspects of the BMZ position on alternative development were embedded on the UN level.
Other elements IZR-Title 
The BMZ-specific title ‚International Cooperation with Regions for Sustainable Development‘exists since fall 2011. Projects which fall under this title ought to comply with certain characteristics, such as :

  • Global challenges are tackled in a manner that cuts across countries, regions and policy sectors.
  • Networks are formed with political actors, public administration, civil society and the corporate sector.
  • Costs are shared between stakeholders and partner organisations, with possible financial contribution in the form of up-scaling

Commissioner/Duration: BMZ  / 08.2015 – 05.2019
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