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    UNIS/NAR/1280
    24 May 2016

    At its 116th session, INCB reviews requirements for controlled medicines, encourages increased vigilance towards precursor shipments to Syria

    VIENNA, 24 May (UN Information Service) - At its 116 th session,  underway in Vienna, Members of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) continue their work towards ensuring implementation of the three international drug control conventions.

    Over the first five days of deliberations, Board members reviewed national legislative developments and measures taken by Governments to ensure the execution of the international drug control conventions, including the situation in the United States and Uruguay. INCB also analyzed the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations it made to Governments following its country missions in past years.

    Through its Standing Committee on Estimates, which reported to the full Board on 23 May, the Board reviewed the worldwide supply of and demand for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes, as well as hearing an update on annual legitimate requirements for Amphetamine-type-stimulants (ATS) precursors as submitted by Governments. The Standing Committee assists the Board in managing the estimates system established by the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the system of assessments developed for the implementation of Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971. The President of the Board, Mr. Werner Sipp, noted that "the Board continues its fundamental work towards ensuring that Governments make accurate provisions for the controlled substances needed so that their people have access to the medicines they need".

    INCB also discussed the latest developments in the control of licit trade in precursor chemicals, precursor trafficking trends and heard a report on the operational activities it facilitates through Project Ion, which is designed to assist Governments in tackling trafficking in new psychoactive substances (NPS).

    The Board returned to concerns expressed in the recent past by the competent national authorities of a number of major precursor-exporting countries about orders for significant amounts of pseudoephedrine and other precursors by companies in Syria. INCB shares those concerns. The situation in Syria has seriously affected the capacity of responsible authorities to effectively monitor and control the licit trade in precursor chemicals. Consequently, INCB has recently encouraged the authorities of exporting countries to closely scrutinize requests for exporting pseudoephedrine to companies in Syria. The President of the Board noted that "such heightened levels of vigilance are needed to prevent diversion to illicit manufacture of drugs of abuse, while ensuring that licit medical needs are met".

    The Board also reviewed the situation in Afghanistan following its high-level mission to the country from 8 to 10 May 2016. INCB has maintained a close dialogue with the authorities of the country since invoking, 16 years ago, article 14 of the 1961 Convention. INCB remains concerned about the critical drug control situation and calls again on the international community to provide assistance to tackle the drug problem in the country. The President of the Board noted that "there were signs of political commitment by the national authorities to tackle the drug problem and the time has come to demonstrate with actions and results that progress is being achieved". Mr. Sipp added that "this is essential in order to maintain the confidence, engagement and support of the international community". President Sipp noted that "the drug control situation in the country remained critical and cooperation between the international community and Afghanistan was today more needed than ever if the nexus between illicit cultivation, drug production and trafficking, and corruption, insecurity and terrorism was to be dislodged". Mr. Sipp stated that "much work was needed to enhance regional cooperation" and noted that "without effective drug control, achieving security, peace, development and countering terrorism will remain elusive goals". The President said that "the forthcoming Conference on Afghanistan, to be co-hosted by the Government of Afghanistan and the European Union on 4 and 5 October, represents a unique opportunity to ensure that future development efforts and international cooperation  addressed the cross-cutting problem of drug trafficking and drug abuse; failure to do this will mean that the interconnected problems of insecurity, corruption, the rule of law, development and terrorism will also remained unaddressed".

    The INCB 116 th session will conclude on 27 May.

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    The Vienna-based Board is an independent body, established by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs to monitor and support governments' compliance with the international drug control treaties. Its 13 members are elected by the Economic and Social Council to serve in their individual capacities for a term of five years.

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    For further information, please contact:

    INCB Secretariat 
    Telephone (+43-1) 26060-4163 
    Email:  secretariat@incb.org  
    Website:  www.incb.org