Governance, Humanitarian Care, Leadership, Peace

Justice Tettey, Chief of Drugs at UNODC stresses the urgency of placing substances under international control for the health and welfare of humankind


Former President of Colombia Juan Carlos Santos along with the UN were responsible for an historic 2016 peace agreement with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia to fight drug trafficking in Colombia the world’s highest producer of cocaine.

During his speech to mark the historic peace agreement he stated:Excerpts from his speech:

“And I feel that I must take this opportunity to reiterate the call I have been making to the world since the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena in 2012, which led to a special session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in April this year.

I am referring to the urgent need to rethink the world War on Drugs, a war where Colombia has been the country that has paid the highest cost in deaths and sacrifices.

We have moral authority to state that, after decades of fighting against drug trafficking, the world has still been unable to control this scourge that fuels violence and corruption throughout our global community.

The peace agreement with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia includes their commitment to cut all bonds with the drug business, and to actively contribute to fighting it.

But drug trafficking is a global problem that demands a global solution resulting from an undeniable reality: The War on Drugs has not been won and is not being won.

It makes no sense to imprison a farmer who grows marijuana, when nowadays, for example, its cultivation and use are legal in eight states of the United States.

The manner in which this war against drugs is being waged is equally or perhaps even more harmful than all the wars the world is fighting today, combined. It is time to change our strategy.


We are the result of our thoughts; the thoughts that create our words; the words that shape our actions.

That is why we must change from within. We must replace the culture of violence with a culture of peace and coexistence; we must change the culture of exclusion into a culture of inclusion and tolerance.

It is quite comforting to be able to say that the end of the conflict in Colombia, the most biodiverse country per square kilometre in the world, will yield high environmental dividends.

By replacing illicit crops with legal ones, deforestation spurred by coca leaf growing will certainly diminish. And millions of barrels of oil will no longer be spilled in our rivers and seas because of attacks against our oil infrastructure.

We can say, in summary, that the Colombian peace process that you are recognising today in Oslo is the synthesis and result of many positive efforts made throughout history and all over the world,

Dear friends,

In a world where citizens are making the most crucial decisions – for themselves and for their nations – out of fear and despair, we must make the certainty of hope possible.

In a world where wars and conflicts are fuelled by hatred and prejudice, we must find the path of forgiveness and reconciliation.

At our core, there are no inherent differences: not the colour of our skin; nor our religious beliefs; nor our political ideologies, nor our sexual preferences. All these are simply facets of humanity’s diversity.

Let’s awaken the creative capacity for goodness, for building peace, that live within each soul.

In the end, we are one people and one race; of every colour, of every belief, of every preference.

The name of this one people is the world. The name of this one race is humanity.

If we truly understand this, if we make it part of our individual and collective awareness, then we will cut the very root of conflicts and wars.

In 1982 – 34 years ago – the efforts to find peace through dialogue began in Colombia.

The sun of peace finally shines in the heavens of Colombia.

May its light shine upon the whole world!”