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    UNIS/NAR/1254
    29 October 2015

    INCB opens its 114 th session focussing on UNGASS 2016 preparations

    VIENNA, 29 October (UN Information Service) - The International Narcotics Control Board opened its 114 th session in Vienna today. During its meeting, the Board will discuss its contribution towards the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS) to be held in New York from 19 to 21 April 2016.

    "UNGASS 2016 provides a real opportunity for Member States to review their efforts and successes, discuss various options available to enhance the effectiveness and impact of national and international drug policy, and design further actions," said the INCB President Werner Sipp in his opening remarks. Throughout the session the Board will review the implementation of the drug control treaties by States. The Board Members will also examine the obligations, scope and flexibility set out in the treaties.

    Referring to ongoing discussions on global drug policy, Mr. Sipp noted that "the role of the Board as a treaty monitoring body is to inform Member States on what further actions they must undertake to fully implement the goals and principles of the treaties and the Political Declarations." The President further noted that "the drug control treaties provide a valid framework for achieving progress in drug policy. A main concern has been the lack of effective action in many States, particularly in the areas of prevention of drug abuse, treatment of dependence, reduction of negative consequences of drugs as well as rehabilitation and reintegration of drug users."

    Prior to the opening, the Board held a two-day meeting of its Standing Committee on Estimates. At the 114 th session, the Board will examine the recommendations of the Committee, particularly in relation to the actual requirements of countries for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical use. The President noted that "the aim of this work is to ensure that all countries around the world make adequate provisions to assure the availability of medicines to satisfy the needs of their populations."

    During the 114 th session, INCB will finalise its Annual Report for 2015 and its Report on the control of precursor chemicals, both to be released in March 2016. The Annual Report will present a special focus on "challenges and opportunities for international drug control", while the Precursors Report, which is also part of the Board's contribution to the UNGASS 2016, will explore how governments can improve cooperation with industry to prevent the diversion of precursors. With these publications, said Mr. Sipp, "our aim is to provide inputs and guidance to governments in some of the areas that should be covered by the declaration they will adopt at UNGASS 2016 and, more importantly, on the actions they should undertake to enhance treaty compliance."

    The Board will also finalize its Special Report on Availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes, also planned as an input to the UNGASS process. Speaking to the Board, the President said that in the past "much has been assumed about the reasons for the lack of adequate access and availability of controlled substances for medical use in many countries". This report, however, is based on "real information from the ground", and will "show where the problems lie and what action is needed by the governments", he added. The President said that "what the report will clearly show is that the treaties are not the problem, they are rather part of the solution", adding that "the main responsibility for ensuring adequate access and availability of medicines rests with governments implementing the necessary actions and putting in place policies that ensure the building of capacity at the national level".

    During the session, the Board will consider the outcome of the country missions conducted in the past year as part of its dialogue with states to facilitate treaty compliance. It will also meet with partners such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the Joint United Nations Office Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and ICPO/INTERPOL as part of its cooperation and exchange of information efforts.

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    INCB is the independent, quasi-judicial body charged with promoting and monitoring Government compliance with the three international drug control conventions: the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Established by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, the thirteen members of the Board  are elected in a personal capacity by the Economic and Social Council for terms of five years

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    For further information, please contact:

    INCB Secretariat
    Telephone for media inquiries: (+43-1) 26060 4163
    Email: secretariat[at]incb.org
    Website: www.incb.org