Building on Diplomatic Foundations
Delegations from the Government of Colombia and the United States of America convened from September 25-26, 2023, for the Third Meeting of the U.S.-Colombia Counternarcotics Working Group (CNWG).
- Leading the Colombian delegation were Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Coy, Vice Minister of Justice Camilo Umaña, and Vice Minister of Defense and Security Policy Alberto Lara.
- The U.S. Government delegation was headed by the Deputy Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Mr. Adam W. Cohen, and Ambassador Todd D. Robinson, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
A Continuing Dialogue
This gathering marked another milestone in the ongoing collaboration between the two nations, a continuation of the tenth High-Level Dialogue (HLD) held in Washington, D.C., on March 27-28, 2023. As the delegates engaged in productive discussions, they made shared commitments to chart a more dynamic path in the U.S.-Colombia counternarcotics relationship.
The focus extended to addressing drug-related challenges and the implementation of Colombia’s new national drug policy for 2022-2033 within the bilateral holistic strategy.
Strengthening Diplomatic Ties
The strength of the diplomatic relations between the Republic of Colombia and the United States, which spans over two centuries, provided a solid foundation for their collaborative efforts.
Both nations acknowledged the importance of strengthening democracy, combating corruption, safeguarding human rights, fostering peace, addressing climate change, enhancing public health, and adopting a comprehensive approach to tackling the global drug issue.
These shared objectives aimed to improve the well-being of their people, promote societal prosperity and ensure regional stability.
Commitment to a Better Future
Colombia and the United States reaffirmed their commitment to intergovernmental cooperation in addressing drug-related challenges. Their approach prioritized public health and human security, emphasizing a long-term vision centered on saving lives and building a brighter future.
Key Agreements and Objectives
The joint statement outlined several critical agreements reached by both parties:
- Enhanced Interdiction Efforts: Both nations committed to increasing interdiction efforts, joint training, capacity-building activities, and intelligence sharing. These actions aimed to bolster Colombia’s ability to combat transnational organized crime and multi-crime groups while enhancing human security.
- Fighting Money Laundering and Environmental Crimes: Colombia and the United States pledged to expand their efforts in combating money laundering and crimes against natural resources and the environment.
- Global Drug Problem: The governments reiterated their determination to cooperate in addressing the global drug problem, including criminal activities associated with cocaine and synthetic drugs.
- Rural Security: The parties aimed to strengthen judicial and police presence in rural areas, contributing to enhanced security.
- Licit Economic Development: Strategies for promoting the transition to licit economies in rural areas were prioritized, including the 3T model (Titling, Transition, Transformation) in select municipalities. This holistic approach is aimed at territorial transformation.
- Alternative Economic Opportunities: Colombia and the United States sought to provide licit economic development opportunities as alternatives to illicit crops, in conjunction with strategic eradication efforts.
- Reducing Substance Abuse: Both nations agreed to implement strategies aimed at reducing the consumption of psychoactive substances and their associated impacts.
- Metrics and Dismantling Criminal Networks: They reinforced efforts to strengthen metrics that measure the underlying causes of drug production and to dismantle transnational narco-trafficking criminal networks.
- Coordination Mechanism: The Colombian Ministry of Justice and Law and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlighted their collaboration, particularly in identifying a coordination mechanism for the bilateral holistic strategy within the Colombian government.
Part of a Broader Dialogue
The Counternarcotics Working Group (CNWG) is an integral component of the U.S.-Colombia High-Level Dialogue, a pivotal mechanism for high-level bilateral discussions. This platform serves to institutionalize and diversify the agenda between the two countries, covering diverse areas of shared interest, including economic development, security, the global drug problem, educational exchanges, environmental protection, human rights, and health.