AMSTERDAM – Around 60 producers of coca, poppy and cannabis from 15 different countries and their representatives are expected to convene in The Netherlands this week. Against the backdrop of Assumburg Castle in Dutch Heemskerk, their aim is to raise awareness of the poverty and conflict caused by the global war on drugs.
During the two-day Farmers Forum their intention is to discuss real solutions to these problems. Topics on the agenda: territorial conflict, the ban on traditional and medicinal use of coca, opium and cannabis, and the importance of sustainable alternatives to these crops. Preparing for UNGASS, the major UN conference on global drugs policy in April in New York, the farmers are hoping the summit’s final statement will reflect their ideas and take their position into acount.
January 2009 saw the first and thusfar last assembly of the Farmers Forum. Focusing on the Vienna UN summit on drugs two months later, its conclusions and recommendations were discussed at the UN high-level meeting evaluating the 1998 UNGASS quixotic goal of ‘a drug-free world within ten years’. The world wide ban on cultivating coca, poppy and cannabis is an integral part of that utopian world view. Of course, in the meantime many countries had adopted a more pragmatic approach to deal with drugs issues.
The Farmers Forum is an initiative by several different farmers organisations from Latin-America, Africa and Asia. Organizer is the Amsterdam based Transnational Institute (TNI), an international, progressive think tank that aims at peace, justice, democracy and sustainability through informing and mobilising involved citizens.
The meeting in Assumburg Castle will take place on Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st of January.
On Friday morning, a press conference will be held at 10 am (22 January).
The two-day conference will see participants from: Albania, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Bolivia, Colombia, Indonesia, Jamaica, Saint Vincent & Grenadines, South Africa, Morocco, Mexico, Poland, Peru, Paraguay and The Netherlands.