INCB backs paperless trade amid COVID-19 pandemic

Vienna, 11 May - In light of the contingency measures taken by governments to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, competent national authorities in different parts of the world have sought alternatives to the generation and exchange of paper-based import and export authorizations for internationally controlled substances. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has been working to support the secure paperless trade in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors during this period. In recent weeks, INCB has been receiving an increasing number of requests from governments' competent national authorities to register and use the electronic International Import and Export Authorization System ( I2ES).

To assist competent national authorities in the rapid adoption and integration of I2ES into their national systems, the I2ES team has fast-tracked the coordination and deployment of capacity building activities. From 4 to 11 May, thirteen officials from Bhutan, Bulgaria, Mozambique and Oman, who have just joined I2ES, participated in a series of webinars. Individual webinars for the competent national authorities of each country took place between 4 and 8 May, followed by an invitation for a group webinar for all four countries. Six officials from Oman and Bhutan participated in the webinar on 11 May. The group session enabled participants to share experiences in tackling the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic in their countries as well as to exchange views on actions to strengthen the I2ES user community and the opportunities presented by paperless trade in controlled substances.

As of today, competent national authorities of 65 countries are enabled to issue import and export authorizations through I2ES, and 18 countries are in the process of validating their administrator accounts. The number of import authorizations issued through I2ES (from January to April 2020) more than doubled compared with the same period in 2019. Similarly, export authorizations issued through the system increased by more than 30%, when compared to the previous year.

INCB continues to support all governments in the adoption of I2ES and has invited all competent national authorities that have not yet registered to initiate the registration process by contacting the I2ES team at Also, the Board has called for all existing users to continue sharing their experiences and, by doing so, enable the I2ES community to realize the full benefits of a broader adoption of the system.

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For further information, please contact:

INCB Secretariat
Telephone for media inquiries: (+43-1) 26060 4163
Email: incb.secretariat[at]

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