In January, Colombia’s constitutional court halted President Iván Duque’s plan to return to aerial spraying of glyphosate as a means of eradicating coca. According to an article posted in one of Colombia’s oldest dailies El Tiempo, the court s topped the order because the Colombian state had not sufficiently guaranteed the communities impacted by the decision to return to aerial spraying the r ight to prior consultation. Prior consultation is a process that will take many months to complete, effectively shelving the decision on aerial spraying. Environmental authorities, in conjunction with the police, will have to complete this process in accordance with regulations set forth by the constitutional court, according to center-left Argentine news outlet Infobae. The outlet states that in 2020, Colombia had nearly 150,000 hectares of coca cultivation. Despite intensifying a program of manual coca crop eradication after signing a peace deal with guerrillas in 2016, Colombian officials want to return to aerial eradication to deal with a resurgence in violence and drug trafficking. The timeline for a final decision outlined by the court kicks the decision into the ongoing presidential election, forcing candidates to debate the issue. It also comes at a time when Colombia’s instability is high and its violence surging due to the expansion of drug trafficking activity along the border regions with Venezuela.
“The environmental authority could not make a decision about the modification… without first carrying out the process of prior consultation with all the ethnic communities likely to be affected by the spraying activity.”
Source: “Glifosato: Corte tumba plan de manejo ambiental y ordena consulta previa (Glyphosate: Court buries environmental management plan and orders prior consultation),” El Tiempo (one of Colombia’s oldest dailies generally described as politically-centrist), 20 January 2022. https://www.eltiempo.com/justicia/cortes/glifosato-corte-tumba-plan-de-manejo-ambiental-y-ordena-consulta-previa-645910
The environmental authority could not make a decision about the modification… without first carrying out the process of prior consultation with all the ethnic communities likely to be affected by the spraying activity, taking into account that the court itself noticed partial overlaps between these groups and the areas of influence of the project… The Court determined that in the process, in effect, the right to participation of the peasant communities residing in the municipalities where the program will eventually be carried out was ignored.
Source: “Corte frustra planes de Duque de reanudar fumigaciones antidrogas en Colombia (Court frustrates Duque’s plans to resume anti-drug spraying in Colombia),” Infobae (Argentine news outlet generally seen as center-left politically), 19 January 2022. https://www.infobae.com/america/agencias/2022/01/19/corte-frustra-planes-de-duque-de-reanudar-fumigaciones-antidrogas-en-colombia/
In 2020, Colombia had 143,000 hectares of coca, the plant that serves as the raw material for cocaine, according to the most recent UN report. The government, which links drug trafficking with the resurgence of violence after the peace process with the Marxist guerrillas in 2016, intensified the program of manual eradication of drug crops. However, the government insisted on the need to fumigate with glyphosate to significantly reduce the cultivation area.