Much of the third world faces issues with the production and trafficking of illicit drugs, whether it be opioids, cocaine, marijuana, and beyond. These issues typically stem from problems much bigger than themselves, such as impoverishment and food insecurity throughout parts of the world. According to the United Nations, Colombia in particular faces an extreme problem with cocaine production and trafficking, as the world’s largest producer and exporter of coca by-products. With existing legislation prohibiting the use of aerial pesticide sprays which were used as a tool to disrupt the growth of coca plants, the United Nations has placed pressure on the Colombian government to reinstate the pesticide program in order to reduce the growth in production. As a result of the drug trade in the global South being centered around cartels in many cases, there is generally increased internal violence and crime as a result of heavy drug trafficking in an area. This includes crimes related to cartel wars, civilian casualties, etc. As a result, drug trafficking plays an essential role in disruptions to world peace.
United States’ president Donald Trump has responded with threats to revoke Colombia’s status as a partner in the war on drugs due to the perceived lack of control which the Colombian government seems to have over the cocaine epidemic. With the United States on the frontlines of the United Nations, leading institution for the promotion of human rights and world peace seems to be in promotion of the response of making threats to blacklist Colombia from the united front against the illicit global drug trade.
This approach to a solution is common because we tend to villainize people involved in the drug trade without understanding the issues and circumstances under which people choose to enter this lifestyle. In many cases, the war on drugs is an extremely violent one, this solution can be viewed as a short-term solution as it does not address the root of the problem. While there are several reasons someone may choose to engage in drug trafficking, impoverishment and food insecurity are among some of those. When people are in need of a source of income or access to necessities, they are more likely to take to more extreme activities in order to earn an income. Imprisoning members of drug cartels may simply cause a temporary decline in drug production and sales, but there will always be the possibility of more people entering the drug trade as long as we allow the conditions which foster this to exist.
My recommendation as per a solution to the global drug epidemic would involve targeting the core issues which exist and can be considered determining factors of increased prevalence of drug trafficking activity. In order to do this, I would emphasize a focus on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals which revolve around the eradication of poverty and hunger, reducing gender inequality, increased education, all via cooperation from a united global community. Tackling these issues on a worldwide level would contribute greatly to reducing the amount of people entering the drug trade on a yearly basis. Specifically, I would attempt to foster more accountability in the developed world for those countries which are developing.
Many of the world’s developing countries were under the rule of one or more developed countries at some point in history. This colonial past has in many cases inhibited the growth of many countries whose potential for wealth was hindered by exploitation by “the West” or the global North. Countries with imperialist pasts should provide reparations to their former colonies in order to foster their development and growth and encourage their transition into the developed world. For this plan to be implemented successfully it would require global cooperation, with all nations willing and able to adhere to international law surrounding international development. If all first-world countries were to formally agree that the fate of the developing world is something that we should be concerned with it would very much be possible to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, thus reducing crime rates, including but not limited to, drug trafficking.
As the United Nations is not an official governing body in the international community, many of its resolutions are made up of suggestions, threats of sanctions, among other sometimes ineffective means of fostering change. While much good comes from UN resolutions, in order for the international institution to have the reach which it hopes, we need to find a way in which its word carries more weight and its treaties are enforceable by law if its signatories fail to uphold obligations. This will in summary hold the developed world accountable for the past as well as the future of the developing world and foster cooperation in reducing disparity and drug trafficking.
With much of the developing world facing issues related to drug trafficking and related offences, this has become a serious issue in the global community which requires an urgent response. Drug trafficking impacts us in many ways, from the violence caused by drug cartels, to the increased potential for health issues, to the responses from states in the war on drugs. Rather than focus solely on eradicating drug trafficking, we need to emphasize eradication of pre-determinants of entering the drug trade such as poverty and food insecurity. It is crucial that these remain focuses especially due to their impact on other areas of conflict and disruptions to world peace as well.
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