INCB promotes e-commerce industry partnerships globally to address trafficking of dangerous substances

VIENNA, 25 June 2021 - The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has concluded a six-day Workshop on Public-Private Partnership for the Prevention of Trafficking in NPS, Synthetic Opioids, and Relevant Precursors through E-commerce Platforms. The meeting was organized under the auspices of INCB's Global Rapid Interdiction of Dangerous Substances (GRIDS) Programme.

Following on from two workshops on the same topic held in January 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand, and in December 2019 in Hanoi, Viet Nam, the third workshop was aimed at promoting public-private partnerships between Governments and e-commerce companies by examining practical solutions for preventing the exploitation of legitimate e-commerce services for dangerous substance trafficking, as well as supporting government responses to such exploitation. The meeting brought together over 100 experts from 24 governments, 3 international organizations, 1 non-governmental organization, and 8 e-commerce companies (based in 6 countries) to exchange experiences and discuss possible solutions to the exploitation of legitimate e-commerce services for trafficking in new psychoactive substances (NPS), synthetic opioids and relevant precursors.

At the opening of the workshop on 14 June 2021, the INCB President, Ms. Jagjit Pavadia, stated "the promotion of public-private partnerships is a priority for GRIDS and other operational projects of the Board". Ms. Pavadia further noted that, "in promoting public-private partnership to prevent dangerous substance trafficking, the Board is focusing on the four 'M's, which are the key areas exploited by drug traffickers, namely manufacture, marketing, movement, and monetization.," The INCB President also highlighted the significance of marketing as the "spearheading initiative" by the Board commencing with the promotion of cooperation between governments and e-commerce companies.

Participants acknowledged that e-commerce is essential to ensuring access to medicines of certified quality by those who need them and shared suggestions for safer medicine e-commerce. Experts shared their successful experience in developing and applying a special algorithm supported by artificial intelligence that can detect suspicious posts online related to drugs and dangerous substances. Many Governments reported that they have established comprehensive approaches to prevent the exploitation of e-commerce platforms and other Internet-based services, including policies to facilitate voluntary cooperation with private sector partners, schemes to monitor suspicious activities on the Internet, and investigations based on cooperation with private sector partners.

The workshop also provided government participants with live demonstrations of the innovative online tools developed by the INCB GRIDS Programme to support officers in effectively respond to trafficking in NPS and non-medical synthetic opioids. The workshop concluded on 25 June with the adoption of a set of practical recommendations to further promote voluntary cooperation between Governments and e-commerce companies and encourage the use of innovative technical solutions in responding to the exploitation of legitimate e-commerce services.

The Global Rapid Interdiction of Dangerous Substances (GRIDS) Programme is the International Narcotics Control Board´s global initiative addressing the international trafficking aspects of emerging dangerous substances. Launched in February 2020, the GRIDS Programme contributes to the implementation of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 73/192, which calls for international cooperation to address and counter the world drug problem, by responding to requests by Member States to enhance their law enforcement capacity to detect and identify new psychoactive substances and promote information sharing and cross-border cooperation, and CND Resolution 62/8. The GRIDS Programme also contributes to the 2030 Agenda, particularly the sustainable development goals on good health and wellbeing, sustainable cities and communities, peace, justice and strong institutions, and partnerships.

The meeting was made possible with the generous support of the Government of Japan.

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