31 January 2003

International Narcotics Control Board Session to Focus on Drugs, Crime and Violence

VIENNA, 31 January (UN Information Service) -- The impact of drugs, crime and violence on individuals, families and neighbourhoods will be the focus of attention for the members of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) as they meet for their five day session here from 3 February.

Studying the drug-crime-violence nexus and looking at its micro-level impact is going to be one of the main focuses of the Board's 2003 Annual Report. The INCB monitors the world-wide drug abuse and trafficking situation and issues an annual report on its findings. Each annual report also devotes special attention to a specific drug related issue in its lead, first chapter. The reports of the Board are released at the beginning of each year, usually in late February.

While the Board members are already planning the content of their 2003 report due in a year's time, the INCB will also review the final preparations for the publication of its 2002 report. This latest report will be presented to the press here in Vienna on 25 February. The 2002 Annual Report, apart from giving an overview of the world-wide drug situation, looks in more detail at the economic dynamics of drug abuse and drug trafficking.

At its current session the Board will also review a number of other drug abuse and trafficking related issues and developments. It will discuss the results of an expert group meeting that looked at how to harmonise the defined daily doses (DDD) for narcotic drugs used in medical treatment as currently various quantities are used by different international organisations and entities. The Board will also review the findings of a study that looks at the various existing penalties in different countries for drug trafficking.

Another study prepared for the Board's current session focuses on the topic of harm reduction policies, its definition and interpretation with regard to the existing international drug control conventions. The Board first considered the issue of harm reduction in its Annual Report for 1993.

The Board will also examine the results of its most recent missions which review progress made and problems faced by governments in implementing the provisions of international drug control treaties. Since its last session, the Board has sent missions and technical visits to Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Slovakia.

The Vienna-based Board is a quasi-judicial monitoring body for the implementation of the United Nations international drug control conventions. It was established in 1968 in accordance with the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. INCB is independent of governments as well as of the United Nations. Its 13 members are elected by the Economic and Social Council and serve in their personal capacity, not as government representatives. Its sessions are held in private.

The current members of the Board are: Edouard Armenakovich Babayan (Russian Federation); Madan Mohan Bhatnagar (India); Elisaldo Luiz de Araújo Carlini (Brazil); Rosa Maria del Castillo (Peru); Philip O. Emafo (Nigeria); Jacques Franquet (France); Hamid Ghodse (Iran); Nüzhet Kandemir (Turkey); Robert Lousberg (Netherlands); Maria Elena Medina-Mora (Mexico); Alfredo Pemjean (Chile); Rainer Wolfgang Schmid (Austria); and Jiwang Zheng (China). The Presidency of the Board is currently held by Philip O. Emafo (Nigeria).

* *** *