Commission to monitor spraying of coca along the border of Colombia with Ecuador

Tuesday 27 August 2013

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Authorship: La Hora.

Editorial and Canal: La Hora.

Type of document: News.

Language: Spanish.

Subject: Environment.

Keywords: Coca cultivation, border development, fumigation, glysophate and the environment.

Countries and Regions: Colombia and Ecuador.

A bi-national commission is monitoring the fumigation of coca crops along the border between Colombia and Ecuador, after a meeting held which reached to an agreement stating that Quito will abandon an international demand for these operations, this information was offered by the Colombian government last Monday, August 26.

"We are to create a verification commission. Whenever fumigation are taking place they will be monitored to guarantee the peace of mind and to convince the Ecuadorian government”, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. María Angela Holguín to the private radio station Caracol.

The commission should supervise that spraying with glysophate herbicide should not take place at a distance not closer to 10 kilometers from the Ecuadorian territory, a strip that was agreed upon in 2007”, explained the lady Minister.

Minister Holguín, nevertheless, expressed that her government hopes to reduce that limit “Technicians are even discussing about one kilometer. This is very positive for us since we are making all efforts to reduce that strip of land”, she said at a meeting in Cancun (México), of the Alliance of the Pacific.

The lady minister said that the interest of Colombia is not focused in just ending the litigation at the International Court of Justice in The Hague – where Quite tabled the demand against Bogota saying that glysophate is harmful both for human health and for the environment-, but to maintain fumigations at an area considered sensitive by the government of Juan Manuel Santos.

"These ten kilometers are the most complicated areas regarding coca cropping that exists in the country, so for us it is very important to see that Ecuador understands why we need to shorten the amount of kilometers”, she said.

"It is something that is worthwhile they take into consideration since coca crops expand and trespass easily”, she also said.

Ms. Holguín also explained that another component of the agreement, announced last Saturday by Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, constitutes an economic contribution of Colombia to the border development, but that in no case it is compensation since its government considers that glysophate does not entail any hazard whatsoever ".

The Colombian foreign minister expressed that the document is not yet finished, since some aspects are still missing such as the amount of the economic contribution.

President Correa, who stated that the agreement was “in practice almost finished” said that planes shall not spray at more than 40 meters of height to avoid damaging the crops, and that Bogota, will cover for the expenses of lawyers engaged in the process.

According to the most recent report issued by the UN Office against Drug and Crime, the area planted with coca in Colombia decreased from 64.000 hectares to 48.000 in the period between 2011 and 2012, representing a reduction of 25%, while cocaine production dropped from 345 to 309 tons per year.

See online : Commission to monitor spraying of coca along the border of Colombia with Ecuador

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