For information only - not an official document
13 November 2015
International Narcotics Control Board concludes its 114th session
VIENNA, 13 November (UN Information Service) - Today, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) concludes its 114 th session which focused on reviewing the Board's Annual Report and preparations for the special session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS), to be held in April 2016.
In his closing remarks, the President of the Board, Werner Sipp, said that: "UNGASS presents an invaluable opportunity for Member States to critically assess the progress achieved and the loopholes of the drug control system in the light of the fundamental principles of the drug control treaties: protection of humankind from the harms posed to health and well-being by drug trafficking and abuse, the implementation of a balanced approach to drug control, the respect for human rights, and international cooperation."
During the session, the Board held consultations with representatives of UNAIDS, the World Health Organization, the World Customs Organization and Interpol, and the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Discussions were also held with the Vice-Chair of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the Chair of the Board appointed by the Commission to lead the preparations for UNGASS. In this dialogue, issues of common interest regarding drug policies were raised.
On 11 November, INCB President Mr. Sipp held a briefing for Member States at which he highlighted key areas to be borne in mind by States when preparing for UNGASS 2016. Among the issues for attention were: policies related to health and welfare of mankind, drug abuse prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, proportionality of sanctions, alternative development, ensuring adequate availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, sustainability of drug control, and respect for human rights.
The INCB President stated that "the treaties do not require the incarceration of drug users, but rather provide for alternatives to conviction or punishment for those affected by drug abuse, including treatment, education, after-care, rehabilitation and social reintegration. That some countries have chosen incarceration rather than treatment has been a denial by Governments of the flexibility that the treaties provide." Mr. Sipp urged Member States to grasp the opportunity of UNGASS 2016 to renew the principle of shared responsibility in international drug control as well as a comprehensive, integrated and balanced approach to drug control as set out in the drug control conventions.
Another key element addressed during the INCB's 114 th session was the availability of internationally controlled substances for medical and scientific use, which is examined in detail in the Board's new report on availability, to be released in early 2016. This critical feature of international drug control was summed up by President Sipp when he said: "Access to essential medicines is tantamount to the human right for health. We must strive to ensure that those individuals who are suffering and require medication are afforded the opportunity to avail themselves of essential drugs."
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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