Mr. Eduardo Diaz Uribe, Director of the Colombian Agency for Illicit Crop Substitution at the High Commissioner for Post-conflict of the Presidency of the Republic of Colombia, led a group of 22 representatives of central government, local administrations as well as civil society from Colombia to visit the successful Alternative Development projects in Thailand as a capacity-building activity.
The Colombian representatives took part in a field visit and a workshop in Chiang Rai and Nan provinces from 24 to 31 August 2017. This was the second field visit organised within the framework of training courses for local Colombian partners in Thailand and was arranged under the framework of Global Partnership on Drug Policies and Development (GPDPD) and REDD+, a forest protection programme in Colombia being implemented by GIZ and the Thai Mae Fah Luang Foundation under Royal Patronage (MFLF). The first Colombian visit to Thailand within the GPDPD framework took place in October 2016.
On 24 August 2017, Mr. Diaz met the Secretary General of the Thai Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), Mr. Sirinya Sidthichai and the Thai Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Virasakdi Futrakul.
Mr. Diaz conveyed his appreciation to the Thai government and GPDPD for organising this exchange. Mr. Diaz said he very much welcomed the opportunity to learn from the Thai experience in dealing with the illicit drug economy. This represents a crucial input for Colombia, which is currently facing a dramatic increase in coca growing. ONCB presented the Thai drug monitoring centre, and the participants exchanged information on the current drug situation in Thailand as well as the Colombian crop substitution programme in the framework of the ongoing peace process. Thailand has successfully implemented Alternative Development (AD) projects for more than 30 years.
The Deputy Foreign Minister of Thailand added that starting with the GIZ study visit, the two countries can build on their potential for cooperation in the field of Alternative Development and beyond.