For information only - not an official document
29 October 2020
Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on availability of internationally controlled substances for medical purposes and on drug trafficking to be analyzed at International Narcotics Control Board session
VIENNA, 29 October (United Nations Information Service) - How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the availability of internationally controlled substances for medical purposes will be one of many topics to be discussed by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) at its 129th session in Vienna. Over the coming three weeks, INCB will also review the world drug control situation, the control of precursors and preventing their diversion to illicit drug manufacture, compliance of States with the three international drug control conventions, and measures to improve the drug control situation in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Taking place in a hybrid format, with some Board Members participating via an online platform, the 129th session of the Board coincides with the thirtieth anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988, which will be marked on 11 November during a meeting of the Board with Member States. The meeting will review the successes and challenges related to the implementation of Article 12 of that convention concerning the control of precursor chemicals and to exchange views on the options available to address the proliferation of designer precursors and other non-scheduled chemicals at the global level.
At the opening of the session, the President of the Board, Cornelis P. de Joncheere, referred to the commitment of the Board to continued cooperation with Member States, international and regional organizations and civil society in the implementation of the three drug control conventions towards achieving the overarching health and well-being objectives of the conventions. During the session, the Board will be reviewing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on drug trafficking and the illicit economy and on availability of internationally controlled substances for medical purposes. Mr. de Joncheere noted that several countries had reached out to the Board over the past months for assistance in facilitating the international trade of controlled substances for medical purposes and maintaining adequate buffer stocks of these substances. INCB recently initiated an update of the Model Guidelines for the International Provision of Controlled Medicines for Emergency Medical Care. Referring to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the President of INCB said: "We should see this challenging time as an opportunity to strengthen our cooperation with a view to ensuring availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes while preventing diversion and abuse."
During the session, the Board will review the world drug control situation and will closely study the issue of drug use among older persons, which will be the focus of the thematic chapter of the INCB Annual Report for 2020, which will be released during the first quarter of 2021. Prior to the opening of the plenary, the Board's Standing Committee on Estimates convened for two days to review national estimates of licit requirements for narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals as submitted by governments to the Board.
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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