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The Role of Alternative Development in the War on Drugs: The Case of Bolivia

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In The Role of Alternative Development in the War on Drugs: The Case of Bolivia, Emily Phan-Gruber traces the case of alternative development in Bolivia. With over 2,500 NGOs in United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s database and more than 130 NGO partners, there is a clear and pressing need to understand lessons at the intersection of civil society and states conceptions of alternative development. The author is especially astute at detailing the conditions and context under which the Bolivian case matches the intent and expected results of alternative development programs. Read Phan-Gruber's abstract bellow and follow the link for the full article.


“This paper covers alternative development (AD) programs in Bolivia from the mid-1980s to the present day. Though the War on Drugs is highly complex, this paper argues that in certain situations alternative development programs, despite their imperfections, offer a longer-term solution that should be emphasized and coupled with eradication. The major programs implemented by the U.S., the UN and the EU and their impacts are explained in detail. Recommendations for improvement of alternative development programs include: making programs more participatory, having less stringent conditionality requirements, improving upfront planning about crops and markets, and increasing the number of cooperatives that are able to offer loans to farmers to improve long-term sustainability of programs. The need for government control of an area before AD programs can be effectively implemented and the need to work with the local populations are two of the lessons that can be derived from the Bolivian experience and applied to other locations”.


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