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World Transnational Issues
Disputes - international:
stretching over 250,000 km, the world's 322 international land boundaries separate the 192 independent states and 70 dependencies, areas of special sovereignty, and other miscellaneous entities; ethnicity, culture, race, religion, and language have divided states into separate political entities as much as history, physical terrain, political fiat, or conquest, resulting in sometimes arbitrary and imposed boundaries; maritime states have claimed limits and have so far established over 130 maritime boundaries and joint development zones to allocate ocean resources and to provide for national security at sea; boundary, borderland/resource, and territorial disputes vary in intensity from managed or dormant to violent or militarized; most disputes over the alignment of political boundaries are confined to short segments and are today less common and less hostile than borderland, resource, and territorial disputes; undemarcated, indefinite, porous, and unmanaged boundaries, however, encourage illegal cross-border activities, uncontrolled migration, and confrontation; territorial disputes may evolve from historical and/or cultural claims, or they may be brought on by resource competition; ethnic clashes continue to be responsible for much of the territorial fragmentation around the world; disputes over islands at sea or in rivers frequently form the source of territorial and boundary conflict; other sources of contention include access to water and mineral (especially petroleum) resources, fisheries, and arable land; nonetheless, most nations cooperate to clarify their international boundaries and to resolve territorial and resource disputes peacefully; regional discord directly affects the sustenance and welfare of local populations, often leaving the world community to cope with resultant refugees, hunger, disease, impoverishment, deforestation, and desertification
Illicit drugs:
cocaine: worldwide, coca is grown on an estimated 173,450 hectares-almost exclusively in South America with 70% in Colombia; potential cocaine production during 2003 is estimated at 728 metric tons (or 835 metric tons of export quality cocaine); coca eradication programs continue in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru; 376 metric tons of export quality cocaine are documented to have been seized in 2003, and 26 metric tons disrupted (jettisoned or destroyed); consumption of export quality cocaine is estimated to have been 800 metric tons
opiates: cultivation of opium poppy occurred on an estimated 137,944 hectares in 2003-mostly in Southwest and Southeast Asia-with 44% in Afghanistan, potentially produced 3,775 metric tons of opium - which conceivably could be converted to the equivalent of 429 metric tons of pure heroin; opium eradication programs have been undertaken in Afghanistan, Burma, Colombia, Mexico, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam
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