For information only - not an official document.
    19 September 2000
 U.S. Congressmen Call for Expanded United Nations Role
In Andean Region

VIENNA, 19 September (UN Information Service) – A bipartisan group of 22 U.S. Congressmen have written to U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright expressing support for an increase in funding to the United Nations International Drug Control Programme’s (UNDCP) efforts in the Andean region.   “UNDCP’s record in the field is an impressive one” stated the Congressmen in their letter”.

Sixteen Democrats and 6 Republicans, including the Chairmen of the House International Affairs, Intelligence and Banking Committees and prominent Democrats from the International Affairs, Judiciary and Appropriations Committees, signed the letter.  They urged that $60 million over the next two years be provided to UNDCP as part of the recently passed $1.37 billion U.S. aid package, "Plan Colombia."

“The dedicated support from Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress once again confirms UNDCP's important role in drug control in the Andean region,” said Pino Arlacchi, the Executive Director of UNDCP. “The success of 'Plan Colombia' depends on a speedy and effective delivery of comprehensive alternative economic development aid to farmers who have been growing illicit drugs.  Increased law enforcement and eradication efforts alone will not eliminate the root causes of illicit cultivation in the Andes."

The 22 Congressmen assured Secretary Albright that any funding entrusted to UNDCP would complement U.S. bilateral work in each country.  In particular, the letter requested that six UNDCP programmes be fully funded as soon as possible:

-  In Colombia, UNDCP would work with the government to provide facilities and equipment for small dairy and beef enterprises, generating legal income for 5,000 farm families in four coca-growing provinces. 

-  A second project in Colombia proposes to improve the processing and marketing capabilities of 40 farmer associations that produce tropical fruits, palm hearts, cacao, cultivated fish, beans and natural rubber. School children would also receive instruction in conflict resolution. 

-  Three projects in Peru would benefit 6,750 families in the Apurimac, Selva Central and Inambari-Tambopata regions.  The programme would include four new palm heart and fruit processing plants, expanding existing export markets for organic coffee and cacao, installing permanent legal crops on 10,000 hectares and improving livestock.  Further, the projects would expand credit schemes for crop harvesting and upgrade local schools and health centres. 

-  A sixth project would expand ongoing agro-forestry programmes in Bolivia to reach 20 per cent of people in Chapare region and 10 per cent in the Yungas region, or a total of 7,000 families.  Using environmentally sound forest management plans, farmers would raise money through fruits, palm heart, flowers, wood products, tea and eco-tourism.

* * * * *