9 November 2005

Providing Alternative Livelihoods Focus of 84th Session of the International Narcotics Control Board

VIENNA, 9 November (UN Information Service) -- Providing alternative and legitimate livelihoods to farmers engaged in the cultivation of illicit drugs is one of the main issues being discussed at the 84th session of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). The session is being held in Vienna, and will conclude on 18 November 2005. The issue of alternative development will be highlighted in the Board's Annual Report for 2005, which will be adopted during this session and released in February 2006.

"Alternative development can only be successful if the people who grow illicit crops have an economically and socially viable alternative to illicit cultivation, " said Hamid Ghodse, INCB President. "It has to be conceived as a long-term measure and has to respond to the needs of the communities involved. Alternative and legitimate livelihoods need to be created not only for the growers of illicit crops but also in urban environments. There are many isolated communities mired in drug-related violence and poverty which deserve our immediate attention," he added.

The next Annual Report will also review worldwide trends in drug abuse and trafficking and recommend measures that Governments and international bodies can take to improve controls. Three annual technical reports dealing with the issues of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors and chemicals will be finalized during this session.

Other issues on the Board's agenda include the increasing volume of drugs trafficked through the postal system. "Seizures of drugs smuggled by post have increased over the last five years in all regions of the world," said the INCB President. "Most seizures are reported for cocaine and psychotropic substances. And the trafficked amounts are huge -- in the United States alone, an estimated 10 million shipments of prescription drugs enter the country illegally on an annual basis," he added. Representatives of the World Customs Organization and the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) will participate in the session to review this and other disturbing developments.

Through its Standing Committee on Estimates, the Board will review the worldwide supply and demand situation of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical purposes. It will also reaffirm, and where necessary, establish quotas for narcotic drugs for every country. Representatives from the World Health Organization will discuss health-related issues in the field of internationally controlled drugs during this session with INCB.

Since its last session in May 2005, the Board has sent missions to seven countries (Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Lesotho, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland and Zambia). The Board will review the reports of these missions and examine how Governments and territories are implementing the provisions of international drug control treaties.

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

The current members of the Board are: Joseph Bediako Asare (Ghana) Sevil Atasoy (Turkey), Madan Mohan Bhatnagar (India), Elisaldo Luiz de Araújo Carlini (Brazil), Tatyana Borisovna Dmitrieva (Russian Federation), Philip O. Emafo (Nigeria), Gilberto Gerra (Italy), Hamid Ghodse (Iran), Melvyn Levitsky (United States), Robert Lousberg (Netherlands), Rainer Wolfgang Schmid (Austria), Camilo Uribe Granja (Colombia) and Brian Watters (Australia).

For further information, contact:

The INCB Secretariat
Tel: + 43 1 26060 4277
Email: secretariat@incb.org