By Angela Me and Jorrit Kamminga,

We are pleased to introduce this special issue of the Bulletin on Narcotics, which is devoted to the theme of alternative development. In addition to this introduction, it consists of five academic articles that provide important insights and experiences regarding the current state and future directions of this development-driven strategy. The articles were selected following an open call for submission announced in December 2015. Some of the articles offer a programmatic perspective, distilling lessons learned and best practices from projects and programmes implemented in various countries and contexts. Others present a more general analytical perspective, examining some of the principles and conceptual underpinnings of alternative development.

Integrated development with coca in the Plurinational State of Bolivia: shifting the focus from eradication to poverty alleviation

By Thomas Grisaffi, Linda Farthing and Kathryn Ledebur,

The innovative “coca yes, cocaine no” policy of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, in place since 2006, provides valuable insight into the benefits of a sustainable livelihood approach to supply-side drug crop control without prior forced eradication. While the policy has inevitable limitations, its focus on the social welfare, human rights and economic stability of coca-farming families has proven effective and sustainable in diversifying the economy and fostering political and economic stability. The direct participation of communities and grass-roots organizations, such as the coca grower unions, in finding more effective and sustainable approaches to drug control have been crucial elements in its success. The elements of the policy’s key programme also correspond with the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the United Nations in 2015.