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RCSS Anti-Narcotic Division has done pre-assessment of AD Project sites

In February and March, RCSS Anti-Narcotic Division had done pre-assessment in Mong Pan and Mong Nai for setting up AD project sites as agreed upon by RCSS, UNODC and President U Thein Sein government.

At the 2nd union level meeting between RCSS and President U Thein Sein government in Kengtung on 19/05/2012, both parties agreed to cooperate in drug eradication as the first point of the agreement.

On 27-28/10/2012, at Roundtable Discussion on Implementing a Shan State Response to Alternative Development and Other illicit Drugs held between RCSS, UNODC and the Government, the agreement of 9 points had been made to setup AD project sites in Mong Pan and Mong Nai as model for the whole Shan State in drug eradication process.

As the result of the agreement, RCSS has kept contact persons of its Anti-Narcotic Division to be in constant contact with the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control of the President U Thein Sein government and UNODC.

Although RCSS has been ready to cooperate in illicit drug eradication or to jointly setup AD project site, CCDAC of the President U Thein Sein government has said that they could inform of the time to conduct the coming joint needs assessment by the three parties in the townships of Mong Pan and Mong Nai of Shan State only when the security issue has been resolved.

On 10/02/2013, in order to speedily implement the agreement made in Tachilek, RCSS invited UNODC Country Manager, Mr. Jason ELIGH to its Headquarters, Loi Tai Leng. RCSS Chairman, Sao Yawd Serk and Mr. Jason ELIGH discussed to jointly conduct the needs assessment from March, 2013.

Before the joint needs assessment by the three parties, RCSS Anti-Narcotic Division conducted pre-assessment of the villages in Mong Pan and Mong Nai where villagers mostly depend on poppy cultivation and have to buy rice. Most of the children there couldn’t attend schools. There are no nurses, medics or doctors. It is difficult to get water for daily use. The soils are not fertile for other cultivation rather than poppy cultivation.

Discussions have been made with the people in the areas and their opinion has been recorded. They are thinking that if AD project sites can be setup for them, there is no way for the poppy cultivation not to be reduced or finally removed. If poppy cultivation is just banned or poppy plants are just cut down just like in the past, poppy cultivation would not be erased from the land because it has been what their families have depended upon.

On 02/04/2013 after exhaustively conducting pre-needs assessment in Mong Pan and Mong Nai, the Head of RCSS Anti-Narcotic Committee, Sai Harn and Secretary of the Committee, Sai Seng Wan had a meeting with UNODC Country Manager, Mr. Jason ELIGH at UNODC office in Taunggyi of Shan State.

At the meeting, discussion had been made on how and when to jointly conduct the next needs assessment. At the meeting in RCSS Headquarters, Loi Tai Leng, it is said to start it in March, but at that moment it was in April. Regarding this, Mr. Jason said that it was not going according to the plan because of the situation of the fighting between Shan State Army and the Tamadaw in Kholam Township on 24/02/2013 and the fear that it could spread.

Thereafter, the discussion was generally made to conduct the needs assessment after water festival, approximately on 28/04/2013. However, Mr. Jason restated that he needs to discuss with Naypyidaw and get response from there.

As Alternative Development and drug eradication will surely be beneficial to the Shan State people and the world communities, RCSS is always ready to cooperate with President U Thein Sein government, UNODC and international communities in the implementation as planned.

Anti-Narcotic Division

Restoration Council of the Shan State