The COPOLAD III programme was presented at a joint seminar with the European Commission and the European Union Delegations in Latin America and the Caribbean
Drug production, trafficking and consumption is one of the major challenges facing Latin America. The region produces several illegal substances that are consumed worldwide and is the main source of cocaine according to the International Drug Policy Consortium. The COPOLAD programme, which is financed by the European Union and partly managed by FIIAPP, has been supporting dialogue between the EU and Latin American and the Caribbean countries on drug policies for a decade through international cooperation.
A seminar sponsored by the European Commission Directorate General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA) was organised to launch the third phase of the programme. The event presented a general outline of the programme to the European Union Delegations in Latin America and the Caribbean, together with innovations included in the third phase and new challenges and opportunities in the current situation in the region regarding drug-related policies. In the first stage, this programme sets out to establish a channel for dialogue with participating countries and to redefine the programme and its activities according to their national and regional priorities.
FIIAPP director Anna Terrón spoke of COPOLAD’s efforts to provide opportunities for dialogue on public policies on sensitive issues like drugs and “to give those who fight against drugs an opportunity to express different national and international viewpoints”. It also encouraged those involved to continue building on what has been achieved in the previous phases to curb drug use and demand.
The general secretary of the IILA, a partner of the programme, also participated in the seminar. He talked about the importance of a coordinated approach to organised crime. The head of Unit B.1. DG INTPA’s “South America and Regional Operations” unit alerted the seminar to the increase in drug production and trafficking due to COVID-19 and the need to fight inequality to address this problem.
The dialogue with the EU Delegations in LAC focused on the impact of drugs and that of public policy from the perspective of sustainable development and social cohesion in the region, especially in light of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Based on earlier successes, COPOLAD III will continue to promote technical and political dialogue between Latin America and the Caribbean and the EU, strengthening the technical capacity of the states in the region to improve the results achieved by public policies on drugs and their impact on the well-being, rights and sustainable development of their communities.
This third phase focuses on demand and tangible results. The programme takes two perspectives into account for the first time: national and regional, and supports designing, implementing and evaluating evidence-based public drug policies. It will promote and defend human rights, gender equality and public health, adopting a holistic approach to links with the different dimensions of sustainable development.