For information only - not an official document
12 July 2016
INCB Learning project kicks off regional training for South and East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand
VIENNA/BANGKOK, 12 July (UN Information Service) - The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) is holding a four-day training seminar for South and East Asia and the Pacific national authorities responsible for the implementation of the international drug control conventions. The seminar, which was opened today by INCB Second Vice-President, Dr. Viroj Sumyai, is part of the global INCB Learning project, and is taking place in Bangkok at the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) of Thailand. Forty-five participants from the national authorities of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam are taking part.
Speaking at the opening of the seminar, Dr. Sumyai said: "The General Assembly, at its special session on the world drug problem held in April this year, reiterated its strong commitment to improving access to controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, and to this end recommended a set of measures, which included providing capacity building and training to competent national authorities." According to the INCB Availability Report published in February of this year, the main obstacles to the availability of pain relief medication and psychotropic substances worldwide include the lack of training and awareness, fear of drug dependence and limited financial resources. Enough pain relief substances and raw materials are produced to cover reported global demand, yet three out of four people in the world have only limited or no access to pain relief.
Dr. Sumyai noted that "many countries have difficulties in meeting - or do not at all meet - the requirements of the statistical return system for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, the system of estimates for narcotic drugs and the voluntary assessment system for psychotropic substances". According to Dr. Sumyai, this "increases the chances of diversion and trafficking of internationally controlled substances, the abuse of such substances, as well as their insufficient availability for medical and scientific purposes. This can result in medical centres, pharmacies and doctors not having access to essential medicines, in diseases and pain left being untreated, and in patients suffering unnecessarily".
During the seminar, participants will strengthen their knowledge of the international drug control framework, as well as the technical reporting requirements of the conventions relating to narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals. Participants will also gain knowledge of the use of INCB tools such as the International Import Export System (I2ES), https://i2es.incb.org/ , and the Pre-Export Notification (PEN) Online system, https://pen.incb.org.
The World Health Organization (WHO) will participate during a session on the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes. The training seminar will be followed by a national awareness-raising workshop for Thailand on the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, also organized by INCB.
Both activities are part of the global INCB Learning project launched in early 2016 to provide technical assistance to Member States in complying with the provisions of the international drug control conventions in the regulatory control of the licit trade in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals. The ultimate goal of the project is to ensure the appropriate availability of internationally controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, while preventing their abuse and diversion to illicit channels. The project is funded by the governments of Australia and the United States.
A similar training seminar and awareness-raising workshop were successfully implemented earlier this year in Nairobi, Kenya. The global INCB Learning project also includes the production of e-learning modules on the reporting requirements of the drug conventions, as well as the development of a web interface to allow the general public and academia open access to INCB data currently made available through its publications. The further development of the global INCB Learning project will depend on further support from Member States.
INCB is the independent, quasi-judicial body mandated to promote and monitor 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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For further information, please contact:
Global INCB Learning project
Telephone for inquiries: (+43-1) 26060 4458
Telephone for media inquiries: (+43-1) 26060 4163