Bogotá, July 11, 2020.
The Ministry of Defense, regarding the process of measurement and reporting of the eradication of illicit plantations by the Security forces, reports:
The process of capturing information, transmitting data, and validating the measurement and reporting on the eradicated illicit plantations by the Military Forces counts on the training, accompaniment and monitoring by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC.
The capture of information on manual eradication operations is done directly in the field, through an application built by the UNODC Illicit Plantation Monitoring System, SIMCI, installed in GPS (Trimble) devices for the transmission of the information. This process helps to validate the data precisely from geographic variables (location of the plantation); geometric (measurement of eradicated area); thematic (type of plantation eradicated) and spectral (contrast of information collected in the field with that reported in satellite images).
The use of GPS (Trimble) technology by all the members of the Security forces related to eradication work corresponds to an effort by the Government of President Iván Duque so that the process of reporting and measuring illicit plantations eradicated by the Security forces has high quality technological standards and is as accurate and technical as possible. In this sense, in addition, 10 procedures have been implemented to strengthen controls on the measurement and reporting process for the eradication of illicit plantations.
Once the capture process is finished, the data is encrypted in the application, which prevents the operator from modifying or adjusting it in any way. This search contains the data of the person conducting the information collection, his unit, the Force to which he belong to and the date when the information was collected.
Every 15 days, during the supply of the units in the field, a relay of the GPS equipment (Trimble) is carried out in order to remove them of the area of operations and take them to a place with internet connection so that the data can be transmitted to the server.
Once the information is uploaded to the server, it is decrypted by the external monitoring system, in charge of the United Nations, in order to initiate its validation. This guarantees the good condition and security of the information.
The reports found on the server are reviewed by the monitoring component in charge of the United Nations, with the purpose of determining if the photographic information meets the requirements for its validation.
This process helps to count on a technical, impartial and continuous follow-up throughout the course of the manual eradication operation.
The validated data constitutes one of the materials that are evaluated by the United Nations for the construction of the annual report on the monitoring of illicit plantations in Colombia.
The manual eradication process in the same way counts on training by the UNODC Integrated Illicit Plantation Monitoring System for personnel linked to the capture of eradication data, which includes theoretical, technical and practical knowledge of the process with GPS (Trimble ) to guarantee their correct use.
It is important to remember that the official figures on illicit plantations in Colombia are not the reports of hectares eradicated by the Security forces. The official figures, which are taken into account in the UNODC annual report on monitoring illicit plantations, are consolidated based on the validated reports and the use of other tools such as the capture of satellite images, overflights and analyzes carried out directly by the SIMCI of United Nations, through independent and technical protocols and standards.
Although the Ministry of Defense has not received information about false or “inflated” (exaggerated) reports of hectares of illicit plantations eradicated by the Security forces, it has requested to carry out internal investigations to verify if there are cases in which members of the Security forces have renounced their constitutional duty to eradicate illicit plantations.
Source: Ministry of National Defense