DAIS: Comprehensive and Sustainable Alternative Development

Implementing Organization
Organization of American States [OAS]

According to the mandate of the OAS Hemispheric Drug Strategies and its corresponding plan of action, ES-CICAD is collaborating with the Expert Group on Comprehensive and Sustainable Alternative Development (known by its Spanish-language acronym GEDAIS), to provide a political forum for dialogue and development of policy and guidelines. Alternative development seeks to provide vulnerable communities involved in substance production and or trafficking with a livelihood away from crime and drugs. Alternative development efforts in the Americas have focused on crop substitution and rural development. In those efforts, ethnic and female-led productive associations have been vital in sustaining the fight against illicit crops and protecting the environment. 

Under the work of the GEDAIS, it is possible to identify certain key areas that require support. Such issues include but are not limited to (i) DAIS challenges in natural protected areas and the preservation of biodiversity, (ii) DAIS in the framework of designing national drug policies and strategies, (iii) DAIS as a strategy to contain environmental crimes, (iv) marketing of DAIS products and positioning in sustainable markets, and (v) inclusion of ethnic and gender approaches into DAIS programs to counter vulnerability caused by drug-related illicit activities. 

Accomplishments to Date
  • Creation of the “Reference Framework for the Understanding of the Concept of Comprehensive and Sustainable Alternative Development (DAIS)” under CICAD’s Group of Experts on Comprehensive and Sustainable Alternative Development (GEDAIS, by its Spanish language acronym).  
  • ES-CICAD supports the work of the GEDAIS every year with close collaboration with its chair and co-chair. 
  • Thanks to the support to the GEDAIS, ES-CICAD has maintained a permanent open dialogue with around 20 states on issues related to Alternative Development of national, regional, and global interest and impact.  
Project Activities
  1. Identify critical issues on Alternative Development in the Americas. 
  2. Hold one in-person technical meeting on Alternative Development annually to discuss key issues under the GEDAIS framework. Four meetings in total (2024-2027).    
  3. Hold virtual dialogues/webinars on Alternative Development with countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to understand different regional perspectives. Four webinars/virtual dialogues in total. 
  4. Draft policy recommendations based on the results of the webinars and in-person meetings. 
  5. Draft two research documents on key issues related to Alternative Development in the Americas. 
  6. Review and present the documents on Alternative Development. 
Global Level Outcomes
  • Increase global dialogue on addressing alternative development issues from a range of perspectives, addressing and responding to each country’s needs and specificity, and also identifying common patterns and lessons learned in program implementation.
  • Improvement of national alternative development initiatives by the sharing of experiences.
  • Inclusion of gender, ethnic, and environmental approaches to alternative development discussion.  
National Level Outcomes
  • Increased knowledge of alternative development. 
  • Strengthened institutional capacity to address illicit drug trafficking in diverse settings. 
  • Enhanced inclusion of gender, ethnic, and environmental approaches to alternative development initiatives at a regional, national, and eventually subnational level.  

Current State Participants 

Interested countries are encouraged to apply


Antonio Lomba, Chief, Institutional Strengthening Unit, ES-CICAD/OAS (ALomba [at] oas [dot] org (ALomba[at]oas[dot]org))