For information only – not an official document
18 November 2022
VIENNA, 18 November (UN Information Service) – The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has concluded its 135th session in Vienna. Over the past three weeks the Board focused on a range of matters relating to the functioning of the international drug control system, implementation of the drug control conventions and progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 3 on health and well-being and SDG 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions.
In the course of its deliberations, the Board examined the drug control and related humanitarian situations facing a number of countries.
The Board remains extremely concerned over reports of ongoing large-scale opium poppy cultivation and opium production in Afghanistan and underscores that comprehensive efforts must be undertaken to support alternative livelihoods for those involved in cultivation and production of opium poppy. The Board also noted the urgent need to improve prevention and treatment for all people who use drugs, in particular women. Acknowledging the current political and socioeconomic challenges faced by the people of Afghanistan, exacerbated by the environmental and humanitarian emergencies in the country, the Board calls upon the international community to continue to support the people of Afghanistan through the delivery of humanitarian aid, including essential medicines.
In the context of the conflict in Ukraine, the Board noted with grave concern reports by the World Health Organization indicating the targeting of civilian infrastructure, including medical facilities, and calls upon all parties to the conflict to ensure the protection of the country’s health infrastructure and not to impede the delivery of medical care and provisions.
The Board also noted with concern reports by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime that production and trafficking of synthetic drugs in Myanmar had reached record levels in 2021 and that organized crime syndicates and armed groups had exploited the pandemic and political instability, including in the border areas of Myanmar, to expand drug production.
The Board reviewed the situation surrounding the surge in coca bush cultivation and illicit cocaine manufacture and trafficking and expressed its concern about the growing threat to health and well-being posed by the increased availability of cocaine at higher levels of purity.
During the session, INCB analyzed the trend to legalize the non-medical use of cannabis, which will be the focus of a thematic chapter of the INCB 2022 Annual Report, to be released in March 2023. The Board also finalized a special report on the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes to be issued as a supplement to its 2022 Annual Report. Consultations were held with the President of the Economic and Social Council and representatives of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the World Customs Organization and Interpol.
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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