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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 19 August 2013

New EU funding to help the fight against drugs in Bolivia

A new EU project which is expected to benefit some 80,000 farmers’ families (and up to 400,000 people indirectly) in Bolivia has today been announced by Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, during a visit to the country. The new project, worth €25 million, will help to create new economic opportunities in coca producing areas of the country and to boost alternative forms of agriculture.

This new programme will build on the EU’s previous work in fighting drugs, which has already contributed substantially to the reduction of coca cultivation surface (12% reduction in 2011 and 7% in 2012).

Commissioner Piebalgs said: "During this first visit to the country, I am glad to witness the authorities' commitment to the fight against drugs, and to see the benefits of EU support in this matter. Our new funding will continue to improve the lives of Bolivian citizens by providing even more farmers with alternative livelihoods to growing coca, and to make sure that the country’s agricultural industry is more environmental, equal and sustainable going forward.”

During the visit (19-22 August), Commissioner Piebalgs is expected to meet the Bolivian President, Evo Morales, and Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca. He will use the visit to take stock of the progress achieved so far through the EU’s work in Bolivia.

Bolivia in the next financial period 2014-2020

Bolivia is the biggest recipient of EU aid in Latin America, receiving €241 million from 2007-2013. The EU provides 50% of all foreign assistance to Bolivia. The visit will also be an opportunity to discuss future cooperation under the next Multiannual Financial Framework (2014-2020).

In line with the 2011 Agenda for Change (the EU’s blueprint to refocus its aid to make sure it makes a difference where it is needed most), the EU is reprioritising the countries and sectors where it will be providing bilateral assistance in the coming years. Commissioner Piebalgs will confirm the EU's interest in longstanding good relations with Bolivia and the fact that the country remains eligible for future bilateral assistance under the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI).


Bolivia is one of three countries which produce coca, the raw material for fabricating coca paste and cocaine. Under the new Constitution, coca in its natural state is considered part of the cultural heritage of the nation and its production, consumption and industrialization is regulated by law. The EU has devoted €119 million to the fight against drugs in Bolivia during the last 14 years (of which €69 million were committed over the last seven years).

The Sector Policy Support Programme (Programa de Alivio de Pobreza, or PAPS) will benefit the coca production areas of Yungas de la Paz and El Tropico de Cochambamba, providing training for women to empower them and help to involve them in decision making in their communities as a result, as well as implementing a performance evaluation framework to better monitor results and progress.

It will also improve coordination and communication with other partners involved in the policy such as the private sector or departmental and municipal governments, in order to include them in the planning and management process. It will help to promote investment in alternative means of development coca-growing zones, offering opportunities for diversifying production and thus helping to reduce coca surface down to legal limits, taking advantage of the competitiveness of certain products (as with earlier programmes that have supported cultivation of banana, cacao, coffee, citrus fruits or palm hearts.)

This is the second phase of EU support to the PAPs programme, which has in total received €50 million.

EU aid currently supports three priority areas in the country: Generating economic opportunity and decent work (€70m), the fight against drugs (€69m) and sustainable management of national resources (€102 m). In addition, the EU has contributed through different project to support political challenges and civil society and civil society groups.

For more information:

MEMO/13/746: Development Cooperation between the EU and Bolivia

Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs

To find out more about the EU’s work in Bolivia:

To find out more about EuropeAid:

Contacts :

Alexandre Polack (+32 2 299 06 77)

Maria Sanchez Aponte (+32 2 298 10 35)

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