On Tuesday morning, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Colombia presented the full report on monitoring the territories affected by coca cultivation in the country during 2019.
On June 17, in a preliminary report, it was stated that coca crops had decreased in 9 percent, from 169,000 hectares in 2018 to 154,000 in 2019.
According to the report, four departments concentrate 78 percent of the coca plants planted in the country. These are: Nariño (36,964 hectares), Norte de Santander (41,711), Putumayo (24,973) and Cauca (17,356). Those four zones add up to 121,004 hectares of drug crops.
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The document highlights that 36 percent of the coca fields are concentrated in seven productive enclaves. Among those who stand out: Catatumbo, in Norte de Santander; the border in Tumaco, Nariño, and Algeria and El Tambo, in Cauca.
Pierre Lapaque, UN representative for Colombia, said during the presentation of the report that he wanted to focus on three elements, beyond the figures released.
He noted that the concentration of coca has been increasing since 2010 since the lots are closer to each other. “The effect is that coca increases in some territories but tends to decrease in others.”
“In 2019 65 percent of the coca planted occupied 5 percent of the national territory. This is reflected in greater productivity and more efficient agricultural practices and better prices for illegal products.“Lapaque analyzed.
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In 2019, 65 percent of the coca planted occupied 5 percent of the national territory. This is reflected in greater productivity and more efficient agricultural practices
Similarly, the United Nations official referred to the so-called productive enclaves, which he said are a challenge for the Government.
“These enclaves have several characteristics: lthey do not consume drugs that are produced, money is not transformed into goods and services within it. And they interrelate with other areas that should be the object of attention, “he pointed out.
Lapaque said that 38 percent of the area that had coca crops in the last 10 years, managed to complete three years free of coca. And he cited Caldas, Cundinamarca, Arauca and La Guajira as an example.
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While Boyacá, Santander, Cesar and Magdalena, Guainía and Vaupés report less than 100 hectares planted with coca plants. “This means that we are ready to start processes that definitively solve the presence of illicit crops in these departments, not only eliminating coca, but transforming territories, communities and institutions to prosper in an environment of legality“.
Another aspect that the official highlighted has to do with the diversity of problems surrounding illegal crops, and pointed out that through the Government’s Future Route policy there is a possibility of solutions.
And he concluded by noting that the monitoring system needs to incorporate more variables to define “intangible” elements, in order to improve the ability to address the phenomenon and accommodate a new element that would be the community against corruption and security.
Norte de Santander, new focus of coca
For his part, Leonardo Correa, coordinator of the Illicit Crops Monitoring System, Simci, pointed out that the most outstanding finding in the report has to do with with the breakdown of the trend of increasing illicit use crops that had been registered since 2013.
He noted that the reduction of illicit crops does not occur in the entire country. For example, he mentioned that coca cultivation increased in Norte de Santander. In 2018 there were 33,598 and in 2019 it reached 41,711 hectares.
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While There was a reduction in Caquetá, going from 11,762 hectares in 2018 to 4,511 in 2019. A similar situation was registered in Nariño, where it went from 41,903 hectares in 2018 to 36,964 hectares last year. And in Antioquia, where in 2018 13,403 hectares planted with coca plants were registered, in 2019 it had 9,482.
“In special management areas, coca remains a threat. It is located in parks, indigenous reserves, and Afro communities, and this is a wake-up call because it is concentrating on certain points,” Correa said.
The official drew attention to the situation in the Catatumbo Bar Park, La Macarena Park and Nukak Park.
“18% of the coca is found in Forest Reserve areas that correspond to special management areas, located mainly in Norte de Santander,
Bolívar and Nariño“reads the report.
In special management areas, coca remains a threat. It is located in parks, indigenous reserves and Afro communities, and this is a wake up call
Similarly, it was established that 16 percent of the coca is in the lands of the
black communities; the vast majority, especially in Nariño.
Correa stressed that the areas where there has been Intervention of the Public Force registers a reduction of illicit crops of 23 percent, while in 58 percent of the country, where there was no intervention, for obvious reasons crops were maintained.
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