The Andean Counterdrug Initiative sectionof the Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2006 (P.L. 109-102) lays out conditions under which assistance using funds appropriated under the heading Andean Counterdrug Initiative may be made available for the procurement of chemicals for use in aerial eradication of illicit crops. FY 2006 conditions also apply for FY 2007 under the Revised Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2007 (P.L. 110-5)(CR). In particular, the legislation provides:
“That not more than 20 percent of the funds appropriated by this Act that are used for the procurement of chemicals for aerial coca and poppy fumigation programs may be made available for such programs unless the Secretary of State certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that: (1) the herbicide mixture is being used in accordance with EPA label requirements for comparable use in the United States and with Colombian laws; and (2) the herbicide mixture, in the manner it is being used, does not pose unreasonable risks or adverse effects to humans or the environment including endemic species: Provided further, That such funds may not be made available unless the Secretary of State certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that complaints of harm to health or licit crops caused by such fumigation are evaluated and fair compensation is being paid for meritorious claims.”
This memorandum provides justification for the Secretary of State’s determination and certification to Congress that the above conditions have been met as required as well as a further condition imposed by the legislation: “that such funds may not be made available for such purposes unless programs are being implemented by the United States Agency for International Development, the Government of Colombia, or other organizations, in consultation with local communities, to provide alternative sources of income in areas where conditions exist for successful alternative development and where security permits for growers and communities whose illicit crops are targeted for fumigation. In 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 the Secretary of State determined and certified to Congress similar conditions concerning human health and environmental safety issues related to the Colombia spray program. In 2006, the Secretary of State determined and certified to Congress identical conditions concerning human health and environmental safety issues, including endemic species. These certifications were based on, among other information: all available scientific data on glyphosate, the herbicide used by the program; toxicological tests of the spray mixture (water, glyphosate, and a surfactant) as well as comparative soil and water samples before and after spray; active field verifications and complaint investigations; comprehensive human health monitoring; and thorough verbal and written consultations on the spray program with USDA and EPA. Because the Colombia aerial eradication program has not made any changes in the chemical formulation or application methods used for eradication of coca since the Secretary of State last provided certification to Congress on the Colombia spray program on August22, 2006, these prior certifications serve as the foundation for the 2007 certification. The only change since previous certifications is that there has been no aerial eradication of illicit poppy crops since August 2006, and there are no current plans to restart aerial eradication of poppy in the coming year. These certifications and attachments can be found on the Internet at the following address: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/rpt/aeicc/.
1. The herbicide mixture is being used in accordance with EPA label requirements for comparable use in the United States and with Colombian laws.
EPA informed the Department of State in previous consultations that application rates for coca eradication in Colombia are within the parameters listed on labels of glyphosate products registered by EPA for use in the United States. Since neither the application rates used by the Colombia eradication program nor the EPA-registered label recommendations have changed since 2004, the Secretary certifies to Congress that the herbicide mixture continues to be used in accordance with EPA label requirements for comparable use in the United States.
With respect to Colombian laws, the Colombian Minister of the Environment, Housing, and Territorial Development determined in July 2004 that the illicit crop eradication program is being conducted in compliance with the Environmental Management Plan for aerial eradication (EMP). Since that determination, there have been no substantive changes in the execution of the illicit crop eradication or the EMP.
The spray program’s compliance with other Colombian laws governing aerial eradication was reconfirmed by the October 19, 2004 final resolution of a class action suit filed in 2002 against the aerial eradication program on environmental and human health grounds. The Colombian Administrative Tribunal, Colombia’s highest administrative court, upheld the Government of Colombia’s appeal of a 2003 lower court’s ruling to halt aerial eradication.
The Colombian Administrative Tribunal ruling (an English language translation of which is included as Attachment 1) concluded that:
It cannot be accurately inferred from the evidence outlined that glyphosate causes irreversible damage to the environment when it is used for eradicating illicit crops; on the other hand, a number of facts lead to the conclusion that sprayed areas regenerate in a relatively short period of time and that many hectares of forest are destroyed when trees are felled by growers of illicit crops. (p. 10)
Accordingly, the Administrative Tribunal reversed a lower court’s finding, and ordered that the Ministry of the Environment, Housing and Regional Development, Ministry of Social Protection, and National Directorate of Dangerous Drugs continue their oversight of the spray program.
On February 21, 2007, the State Council upheld this decision in a ruling on a class action suit filed in May 2006 against the aerial eradication program on environmental grounds. The ruling (an English translation of which is included in Attachment 2) concluded that the aforementioned case decided in 2004 was too similar to warrant a separate decision on this case. The ruling states that:
In view of the foregoing, this Division shall declare proven the res judicata plea and shall reject the claims made in the suit, in view of the fact that it was not feasible for the plaintiffs to pursue a new action in order to revive petitions that have already been resolved. (p.5)
Both of these findings represent a decisive legal endorsement of the methods used for spraying illicit crops in Colombia and of the integrity of existing environmental oversight mechanisms.
2. The herbicide mixture, in the manner it is being used, does not pose unreasonable risks or adverse effects to humans or the environment, including endemic species.
The Secretary of State determined and certified in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 that the herbicide mixture, in the manner it is being used, does not pose unreasonable risks or adverse effects to humans or the environment. After previous consultations with EPA, the Department of State and the Government of Colombia have incorporated all EPA recommendations to strengthen spray program controls and ensure increased protection against adverse effects to humans and the environment. The Department of State is not aware of any published scientific evidence of risks or adverse effects to humans or the environment that have surfaced since the 2006 certification. Included below is a brief review of the conditions that allow the Secretary to recertify to Congress in 2007 that the herbicide mixture, in the manner it is being used, does not pose unreasonable risks or adverse effects to humans or the environment.
In the 2004 EPA report, EPA offered the following assessment of human health concerns related to the spraying of coca in Colombia: “Despite an aggressive search for cases, there does not appear to be any evidence that glyphosate aerial spraying has resulted in any adverse health effects among the population where this spraying takes place.” EPA also concluded “that an aggressive program to identify glyphosate poisoning has been implemented in the areas of Colombia where illicit crop eradication spraying programs are prevalent.” A significant number of health care providers have received training and additional training is under way or planned.
As recognized in the 2003 report, the eradication program lowered its potential risks to wildlife and has responded appropriately to minimize off-target drift. However, in the 2004 report the Agency stated, “Spray drift and potential side effect down wind of the target sites are common, universal factors in most if not all pesticide applications from aerial or ground applications for all uses." In 2003, EPA recognized that the Department of State was employing “Best Management Practices to minimize drift.” The Department of State continues to follow these Best Management Practices and is ever vigilant regarding the manner in which the herbicide is applied.
In 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, the U.S. Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) and the Colombia National Police (CNP) collected and analyzed a total of almost 80 water and 180 soil samples drawn from sprayed areas throughout Colombia in order to determine the impact of glyphosate and AMPA (Amino-Methyl Phosphonic Acid) on the environment. AMPA is a product of glyphosate degradation by natural microbial and environmental activity. In accordance with the Colombian Environmental Management Plan, these samples were taken before, immediately after, and 60 days after spray in two different fields during various aerial eradication campaigns. These studies (the results of which are included as Attachment 3) determined that glyphosate and AMPA residue did not adversely impact the soil of the sprayed coca plots. Nor did the glyphosate or AMPA residue adversely impact the water taken from streams adjacent to sprayed coca crops.
In analyzing the soil and water samples, NAS and CNP (through private laboratories) use the High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) method of analysis for glyphosate and AMPA. The HPLC standards conform to EPA standards, and this method is widely accepted as sufficiently accurate to measure and monitor the impact of glyphosate on human health and the environment.
Soil analysis reveals a 108 day half-life for glyphosate after spray application, and a maximum persistence in the environment of 217 days. This analysis does not differentiate between the glyphosate from the aerial spray program and that commonly used by coca growers. However, total residual levels in all these analyses were not found to be of environmental concern. The maximum amount of glyphosate found was close to one part per million (1 mg of glyphosate for each kilogram of dry soil).
Analysis reveals that glyphosate residue levels in water have never approached the “Maximum Contaminant Level” (MCL) as set by the US “Safe Drinking Water Act” at 700 micrograms per litre (0.7 milligrams per litre) for glyphosate residuals.
The Government of Colombia regularly conducts studies to assess the spray program's environmental impact through ground truth verifications to estimate spray drift and the accuracy of the spray mixture application, and during verification of all legitimate complaints about alleged spraying of crops or vegetation that are not coca. After one recent verification, the Government of Colombia’s Ministry of Environment, Housing, and Territorial Development characterized spray drift in the following fashion:
The drift effects that were observed in areas visited on a random basis were temporary in nature and small in extent, and basically consisted of partial defoliation of the canopy of very high trees. No complementary collateral damage from spraying activities was observed at the sites selected and verified. In sprayed areas that were subsequently abandoned, it was noted that vegetation was starting to grow again, the predominant types being grasses and a number of herbaceous species (Attachment 4, p. 4)
The Department of State believes that the program’s rigid controls and operational guidelines have decreased the likelihood of adverse impacts of the eradication program on humans and the environment and that theherbicide mixture, in the manner it is being used, does not pose unreasonable risks or adverse effects to humans or the environment, including endemic species.
This conclusion was confirmed by an objective, independent scientific study that evaluated the Colombia illicit crop eradication program and its potential human health and environmental considerations. The Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS) commissioned a two-year risk assessment of human health and environmental effects related to aerial eradication of illicit crops in Colombia. The final report to CICAD can be found at the following internet address: http://www.cicad.oas.org/en/glifosateFinalReport.pdf.
In 2007, this study was peer reviewed and published in volume 190 of the scientific journal Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.
This study examined not just the possible human health and environmental effects of glyphosate, but the specific manner in which glyphosate is applied in Colombia and the specific glyphosate mixture used to eradicate illicit crops, and reached the following conclusion: “(b)ased on all evidence and information presented above, the Panel concluded that the risk to humans and human health from the use of glyphosate and Cosmo-flux in the eradication of coca and poppy were minimal.” (Conclusions, 6.1, p. 90). Similarly, with respect to potential risks to the Colombian environment, the panel concluded that “the risks to the environment from the use of glyphosate and Cosmo-Flux in the eradication of coca and poppy in Colombia were small in most circumstances.” (Conclusions, 6.2, p. 90).
Although this conclusion broadly applies to Colombia’s endemic animal species, the CICAD report noted one area of potential concern was that of the toxicity of the glyphosate mixture to Colombian amphibians. A study was therefore submitted to Congress in August 2006 (“A Preliminary Evaluation of the Risk Posed to Colombia’s Amphibians and Threatened Species by the Government of Colombia’s U.S.-Supported Program of Aerial Eradication of Illicit Crops”) pursuant to a request in Senate Report 109-96 accompanying the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, 2006 (P.L. 109-102). This study concluded that worst case exposures of the mixture as used in Colombia were sufficiently toxic to the African clawed frog (which does not occur in Colombia but which served as an indicator species because it is the amphibian most sensitive to glyphosate) to justify further studies of its toxicity to Colombian frogs. The various components of the CICAD studies are ongoing, with an expected completion date of December 2007. However, the August 2006 study noted that the worst case exposure scenario used in the study likely would be quite rare.
3. Complaints of harm to health or licit crops caused by such fumigation are investigated, and fair compensation is being paid for meritorious claims.
4. Programs are being implemented by the USAID, the GOC, or other organizations in consultation with local communities, to provide alternative sources of income in areas where security permits for small-acreage growers whose illicit crops are targeted for spraying.Thus far in calendar year 2007, the Colombian aerial eradication program has sprayed (or anticipates spraying) coca in the departments of Putumayo, Nariño, Guaviare, Meta, Bolivar, Cauca, Norte de Santander, Vichada, Antioquia, Vaupes, Cordoba, Caldas, Arauca, Cesar, Valle del Cauca, and La Guajira. In each of these areas, USAID, the GOC, and/or other organizations are implementing alternative development programs to provide legal income generating opportunities to small farm families who agree to accept benefits after verification by GOC and USAID implementing partners that the farms are free of illicit crops.
An $18.5 million USAID project directed at alternative development, implemented by the Pan-American Development Foundation (PADF) supports short-term production activities for immediate income and employment needs. It also seeks to establish longer-term crops such as natural rubber (caucho) and cacao to provide sustainability, as well as complementary productive infrastructure. Projects of cacao, rubber, and agro forestry would cover over 2,000 hectares and benefit over 600 families in El Bajo Cauca.
An $8.5 million USAID dairy project was carried out by Land O'Lakes (LOL) to promote sustainable dairy production, processing and marketing involving small farmers. This program closed out in March 2006, but some activities are being continued by the USAID funded ADAM program. This program is also operated in Nariño.
USAID also funds an activity titled Aid to Artisans (ATA), which is carrying out a $4.3 million project to strengthen local capacity for production and marketing of crafts. ATA is operating in Atlántico, Boyacá, Caldas, Cauca, César, Córdoba, Huila, Magdalena, Nariño, Quindío, Santander, Sucre, Tolima, and Valle del Cauca.
USAID's successful $41.5 million Colombia Agribusiness Partnership Program (CAPP), implemented by Associates in Rural Development (ARD), was merged into the Increased Investment for Sustainable Alternative Development Program (MIDAS) during June 2006 and continues to promote private sector involvement to help agricultural producers and others involved in illicit products to shift into legal activities or remain uninvolved in illicit coca production. The project targets rural families in coca regions and threatened zones and assists them by supporting strategic alliances between agribusiness firms and these families. In Antioquia, the program supports small farmers in producing fruit for processing into pulp, jute and African palm. The program also operates in Atlántico, Bolívar, Caldas, Casanare, Cauca, César, Córdoba, Guajira, Huila, Magdalena, Nariño, Norte de Santander, Quindío, Risaralda, Santander, Sucre, Tolima, and Valle del Cauca.
The USAID-funded Democratic Local Governance Program implemented by Associates in Rural Development (ARD) closed out in February 2006, but the activities it supported - municipal-level development planning, municipal management, public services, finance and revenue, public information, and project management - continue to be implemented by the Alternative Development at the Municipal Level (ADAM) and ARD.The $18.6 million Colombia Forestry Development Program (CFDP), funded directly by USAID and implemented by Chemonics, promoted pine plantations and efficient industrial processing models in Northeastern Antioquia. This program closed out in August 2006 and activities are being continued by the MIDAS program.
USAID's $12 million Colombia Enterprise Development (CED) project supported small and medium enterprise development in secondary cities in Antioquia. CED also operated in Atlántico, Caldas, Quindío, Risaralda, Santander, Valle del Cauca, and Tolima. This program closed out in August 2006 and activities are being continued by the MIDAS program.
The Colombian Government's USD $19.4 million Investment Fund for Peace (FIP) is generating employment through infrastructure, licit crop production (coffee rehabilitation, agro forestry), skills training, and education/nutrition aid to poor families.
The previously mentioned ADAM program is supporting cacao alternative development along with municipal strengthening activities in selected municipalities.CFDP supported plantation efforts totaling an estimated $400,000 in Bolivar in the following municipalities: Zambrano, Fundación, Sabanas de San Angel, Becerril and Agustin Codazzi.
USAID's alternative development program carried out by PADF is supporting short cycle production activities to address immediate income and employment requirements; longer-term crops such as natural rubber and cacao to provide sustainability; and complementary productive infrastructure. The project supports 2450 hectares of licit crops benefiting 661 families.
USAID’s CAPP (now MIDAS) is also promoting private sector involvement with farmers to produce cacao, African palm, and yucca (cassava).
In Bolivar, the Democratic Local Governance Program strengthened nine municipal administrations in southern Bolivar in the areas of transparency and accountability (TA). The municipalities of Santa Rosa and Simití are the main beneficiaries of the provided technical assistance package, but seven other municipalities also received punctual and specific TA training. In total, the program invested USAID funds of $624,589 in social infrastructure projects and leveraged a counterpart contribution of up to 53 percent of the total cost. This program closed out and this region will be included under the new ADAM program.
The GOC is active in Bolivar supporting licit production activities such as palm oil and cassava production.
USAID's centerpiece Colombia Alternative Development (CAD), implemented by Chemonics, was a $97.3 million project; in Caquetá it fostered short-term crop production for food security and long-term income generation activities such as rubber production. This program closed out in May 2006.
The Sustainable Development for Indigenous Colombian Communities project, implemented by the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT), assisted Colombian indigenous communities in food security, health, local governance, and land management. Activities under this program are also being carried out in the departments of Putumayo and Vaupés. The GOC is also supporting institutional strengthening for small-scale brown sugar producers and life plans for indigenous communities.
CaucaCFDP started supporting Afro-Colombian communities in Guapi to manage their natural forestry resources. Technical assistance is also provided to communities in Timbiquí. The CFDP closed out in August 2006 and the MIDAS programs continued to support these communities.
USAID Alternative Development activities also include a $9.8 million project, implemented by ACDI/VOCA, which promotes specialty coffee production, processing and marketing in Cauca's illicit crop growing areas.
The CAPP (Now MIDAS) project supported private sector investments in hot peppers, jute, and cacao.
USAID Democratic Local Governance Program efforts in Cauca have focused mainly on working with community leaders and public officials to improve municipal management practices. The program also funded the implementation of 64 social infrastructure projects totaling approximately $2,288,630 and leveraged 41% of the total costs. This program closed out in February 2006 and ADAM will continue this type of activity in Cauca.
USAID’s Aid to Artisans project is enhancing local capacity for production and marketing of crafts as licit income generating alternatives.
The Colombians Supporting Colombians Program works in municipal development with emphasis on participatory planning. This is put into practice with the construction of small-scale infrastructure projects with community partnership and mayoral involvement. The program also administers a credit fund, directly and via local microfinance institutions, to offer micro-credit for working capital and fixed assets to enhance or expand small businesses.
The GOC is supporting fruit production and complementary activities for the coffee renewal program.
USAID's Specialty Coffee program is also promoting specialty coffee production, processing, and marketing in Caldas's illicit crop growing areas. The CAPP activity is supporting private sector initiatives with small farmers to produce and process tropical fruits, jute, and peppers.
The ADAM program will be carrying out alternative development and municipal strengthening activities in selected municipalities. The Aid to Artisans project is carrying out activities to strengthen the production and marketing of crafts. The CAPP (now MIDAS) is supporting private sector investments for small farmers producing crops such as cacao, fruits and African palm. The GOC is also supporting cacao and oil palm production in this region.
ChocoCFDP supports Afro-Colombian communities in Docampadó to manage their natural forestry resources. CFDP’s investment totals approximately $180,000.
USAID’s CAPP (now MIDAS) is supporting private sector activities in crops such as passion fruit and cacao.
The GOC is providing institutional strengthening to indigenous community associations.
The GOC is supporting rubber production and agro forestry.
The ADAM program is supporting Passion Fruit and Blackberry production and local government strengthening activities with staff from the Department and the municipalities.
USAID's Specialty Coffee project is promoting specialty coffee production, processing, and marketing in poppy growing areas.
The CAPP (now MIDAS) program is supporting cacao and fruit production, while the Aid to Artisans project is promoting the production and marketing of crafts.
Democratic Local Governance Program work in Huila is focused on citizen participation, municipal management, and public information. The program has also implemented 57 social infrastructure projects that total approximately $1,997,000. This program closed out in February 2006 and LG activities are being continued by the ADAM program.
The GOC is supporting the strengthening of cultural values in indigenous communities, fruit production, fishponds, and complementary activities for the coffee renewal program.
MagdalenaCFDP supports Familias Guardabosques activities in the municipality of Santa Marta totaling an estimated $650,000. Plantation work is supported in San Angel, Algarrobo, San Sebastian, Guamal and Santa Bárbara de Pinto, totaling an estimated $250,000.
USAID's CAPP is also providing technical and financial support in Magdalena to private sector initiatives to produce African palm, banana, cacao, and exotic fruits.
The GOC is supporting activities in cacao, cassava, buffer zones in natural parks, and technical assistance for local governments.
The USAID CAPP (now MIDAS) program is promoting private sector investments with small farmers to produce African palm.
The ADAM program is supporting milk production activity and local government strengthening activities with staff from the Department and municipalities.
The Specialty Coffee project is promoting specialty coffee production, processing, and marketing in illicit crop growing areas of Nariño.CFDP supported the community council of Bajo Mira y Frontera, located in the municipality of Tumaco, in managing its natural forestry resources. CFDP invested approximately $400,000. The MIDAS program now supports this activity.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) implemented a USAID-funded $1.8 million program that provides a range of agricultural and forestry projects.
The CAPP (now MIDAS) program is supporting small farmer, private sector projects in cacao and African palm production.
Aid to Artisans project is carrying out activities to promote the production and marketing of crafts in Nariño.
The GOC is supporting various productive activities in coffee renewal and oil palm production.
Norte de Santander
The CAPP (now MIDAS) program is supporting private sector initiatives with small farmers in the production and processing of African palm and cacao.
The USAID alternative development activities implemented through PAFD are working in association with ASOHESAN (the Santander rubber producer's association).
The GOC is supporting palm oil crop production in the department.
The ADAM program is supporting hearts of palm, vanilla and pepper production activities that were developed under the Chemonics CAD.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' $6.7 million rural infrastructure project, funded by USAID, carried out road, sewage, and water treatment activities that generated employment in the region. Current complementary work to improve the water treatment plant in Villa Garzon was concluded in December 2006.
The Sustainable Development for Indigenous Colombian Communities project, implemented by the Amazon Conservation Team, is supporting indigenous communities with improved food security, health, local governance, and land management.
The ADAM program is supporting cattle and cacao activities and local government strengthening activities with staff from the Department and municipalities.
The ADAM program is assessing alternative development and local government strengthening activities with staff from the Department, municipalities, the private sector and beneficiaries which will begin this year.
The Specialty Coffee activity is promoting specialty coffee production, processing and marketing in illicit crop growing areas of Tolima.
The Colombia Enterprise Development (CED) project, funded by USAID and implemented by CARANA Corporation, supported small and medium enterprise development in Colombia's secondary cities including those in Tolima. This program closed out in August 2006.
The Aid to Artisans project is carrying out activities to promote the production and marketing of crafts in the department, while the ARD/CAPP (now MIDAS) is supporting private sector projects in fruits, natural rubber and cacao production.
Democratic Local Governance Program activities in Tolima focus on technical assistance in development planning to community leaders and public officials. In addition, the program has provided funds totaling approximately $747,000 for 18 social infrastructure projects. This program closed out in February 2006.
The Colombians Supporting Colombians Program works in municipal development with emphasis on participatory planning, and also administers a credit fund as described above in Cauca Department.
The GOC is supporting cacao and coffee activities.
Valle del Cauca
The ADAM project will begin assessing potential alternative development and local government strengthening activities with the Departmental and local government authorities as well as beneficiaries which are expected to begin early next year.
In Valle del Cauca, the Democratic Local Governance Program has focused on technical assistance in development planning to public officials. This program closed out in February 2006.
The CAPP (now MIDAS) activity is supporting private sector initiatives with small farmers to produce and process tropical fruits, jute, and peppers.
The Sustainable Development for Indigenous Colombian Communities project is supporting traditional healers and helping to strengthen indigenous community organizations that are also involved in managing indigenous lands.
The GOC is providing institutional strengthening to indigenous community associations.The preceding four sections and attachments form the basis of the Justification for the Secretary of State’s 2006 Certification of Conditions Related to the Aerial Eradication of Illicit Coca in Colombia.
Attachments [not available online]: