For information only - not an official document
3 November 2016
INCB opens its 117 th session - full treaty compliance and international cooperative action key to addressing the world drug problem
VIENNA, 3 November 2016 (UN Information Service) - The International Narcotics Control Board opened its 117 th session in Vienna today. Speaking at the opening of the session, INCB President Werner Sipp recalled the responsibility of the Board in monitoring and promoting the implementation of and compliance with the three international drug control treaties.
"Over the coming weeks, we will consider in detail the global drug control situation as well as drug control policies and practices at the national level," noted Mr. Sipp. "In an increasingly complex and interconnected world, national drug policy does not only have an impact on public health and welfare within one country, but has the potential to make a significant impact on other countries."
During the session, the Board will review in detail the findings of its recent missions, including its May 2016 mission to Afghanistan. In a statement to the recent Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, the INCB President emphasized the Board's concern about the deteriorating drug control situation in the country and the importance of a sustained level of support by the international community, also noting the potential ramifications for the global drug control situation. Addressing the Board today in Vienna, President Sipp noted: "We have a moral responsibility to assist, as far as possible, the Government of Afghanistan towards improving the situation. One cannot underestimate the strength of the linkages between governance and security on the one hand, and illicit drug cultivation and production, and drug trafficking on the other." The Board's recommendations arising from the recent missions would be conveyed to the respective Governments.
The Board will also be informed of the request by the Government of the United States to initiate the scheduling process for two fentanyl precursors as provided for by the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988. The Secretary-General of the United Nations had transmitted the notification to all Parties to the Convention, and to the Board. President Sipp noted that "the onus is now on Governments to provide, within the coming months, relevant information that may assist the Board in establishing an assessment of the two substances and in coming to a recommendation regarding the possible scheduling of the substances", so that States may take the decision they consider appropriate at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
Prior to the opening of the session, the Board's Standing Committee on Estimates met on 1 and 2 November to review the worldwide supply of and demand for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes, as well as to receive an update on annual legitimate requirements for amphetamine-type-stimulants (ATS) precursors as submitted by Governments. The Standing Committee assists INCB in managing the estimates system established by the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the system of assessments developed for the implementation of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971.
The Chair of the Standing Committee on Estimates, Dr. Viroj Sumyai said: "Sadly, the consumption of drugs for medical and scientific purposes is far from adequate in most of the world's countries. Therefore, the Board works with Governments to enable them to reach towards the highest attainable standard of health for their populations while protecting their health, safety and well-being. The systems of estimates and assessments set up by the international community through treaties and resolutions are important tools that can assist Governments in achieving this aim." At the session, the Standing Committee was to review the annual estimates of narcotic drug requirements submitted by some 150 countries. The Board will also establish estimates for the countries which have not submitted them so as to ensure an uninterrupted supply of medicines.
During the session, the Board will finalize its Annual Report for 2016, its report on precursors, and its technical publications on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. The Board maintains an ongoing dialogue with Governments to ensure compliance with the conventions, in particular by identifying gaps in treaty implementation and proposing remedial action. The Board also facilitates cooperation between Government authorities, for instance through the precursor control projects and its operational project on new psychoactive substances, and in the exchange of pre-export notifications for precursor chemicals (through PEN-Online) and import and export authorizations for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances (through the International Import Export Authorization System - I2ES). INCB counts on voluntary contributions from Governments to implement these systems and to provide capacity building support (through INCB Learning).
During the session, the Board will meet with representatives of partner institutions such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Customs Organization (WCO), the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO-INTERPOL), as well as the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
The Vienna-based Board is an independent body, established by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, mandated to monitor and support governments' compliance with the three 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. The 117 th session of the Board takes place from 1-18 November 2016.
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