INCB President addresses opening of the 63rd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

VIENNA, 2 March - The President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Cornelis P. de Joncheere addressed the opening meeting of the 63rd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs this morning. In his statement, the President referred to the shared commitment made in the Ministerial Declaration of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in 2019 to enhancing efforts to addressing the world drug problem, and which also reaffirmed the treaty-mandated roles of the Commission, the World Health Organization and the Board, and the importance of cooperation among the three bodies with a view to effective implementation of the three international drug control conventions.

Mr. de Joncheere reaffirmed the importance of treaty compliance. He stressed that the development and adoption of measures towards legalising cannabis for non-medical uses was in contravention of fundamental provisions of the international drug control conventions. Both the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances oblige States parties to limit the production, manufacture, export, import, distribution of, trade in, use and possession of drugs exclusively to medical and scientific purposes.

The INCB President reaffirmed the need to ensure that interventions for prevention of substance use and treatment of substance use disorders among youth, which was a focus of the Board's 2019 Annual Report, were implemented in a systematic manner using evidence-based tools.

He also noted the Board's serious concern about continued reports of grave human rights violations perpetrated in the name of drug control. The Board was calling for an immediate halt to any extrajudicial responses to suspected drug-related criminality or drug use. He reiterated that when drug control measures adopted by States violate human rights standards, they also violate the international drug control conventions.

The disparate global availability of controlled substances for medical purposes was also addressed in the INCB President's statement. Despite observing an increase in total global availability, there remained substantial discrepancies among countries and regions due to various obstacles, including capacity within national health care systems, attitudes, awareness, professional training and resources.

The INCB President also addressed the drug control situation in Afghanistan. Mr. de Joncheere reported on the outcome of the consultations with the Government of Afghanistan at the Board's 127 th Session in February. The urgent needs in drug control that can be addressed through technical and financial assistance of the competent United Nations organs and its specialized agencies had been identified.

In closing, Mr. de Joncheere assured States parties of the Board's commitment to providing assistance, in close collaboration with the Commission, UNODC, WHO and other partners, in addressing the complex drug control issues affecting the health and welfare of humanity.

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