The Royal Thai Government, in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) of the Federal Republic of Germany, hosted the Second International Conference on Alternative Development (ICAD 2) from 18 to 24 November 2015. The Conference was divided into two parts: (1) field visit to different alternative development project sites, including the Doi Tung Development Project (Chiang Rai province), the Royal Project in Nong Hoi (Chiang Mai province) and the Myanmar - Thailand Cooperation on Sustainable Livelihood Development Project in Yawng Kha, Mong Hsat District, Shan State, Myanmar, from 19 – 21 November 2015 and (2) the High-level Conference from 23 – 24 November 2015 in Bangkok. Over 100 participants from 28 countries and 11 organisations participated in the field visit, while over 240 participants from 44 countries and 18 organisations joined the High-level Conference.
ICAD 2 is a follow up from the First International Conference on Alternative Development (ICAD 1), hosted by the Royal Thai Government and the Government of Peru in 2011 and 2012, respectively. ICAD2 aims to advance implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Alternative Development (UNGPs on AD); share Thailand’s longstanding experiences and best practices in implementing alternative development programmes to address illicit crop cultivation and improve well-being of hilltribe people based on His Majesty the King’s Initiative; integrate alternative development into larger national and international development policies and strategies; and provide inputs for the preparation of the United Nations Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS) to be held from 19 – 20 April 2016 at the United Nations Headquarters, New York.
Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol presided over the Opening Ceremony on 18 November 2015 at Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park, Chiang Rai. During the field visits, HRH visited alternative development project sites in the provinces of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. During the High-level Conference, HRH presided over and addressed participants in the opening session. Furthermore, HRH participated as panelist in a panel discussion on “Rule of Law and Security Challenges in the Development-oriented Drug Control Context” as well as a side event on “Rule of Law and Alternative Development : Strengthening the Rule of Law to Achieve Sustainable Developments in Areas of Illicit Crop Cultivation”.
Participants stressed the importance of people-centerd, development-led approach and community’s special needs when designing and implementing alternative development programmes and the need to view alternative development in the broader spectrum of sustainable development. Key issues, including, among others, poverty alleviation, giving people livelihoods opportunities, promoting health and education and environmental sustainability and market access, should be integrated into national development strategies. Implementing alternative development programmes is a long-term commitment and involves all stakeholders, from political level to grassroots.
Outcome of ICAD2 will be presented as inputs for UNGASS preparation during the reconvened session of the fifty-eighth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in December 2015 and the 59th session of CND in March 2016.