INCB holds stakeholder consultation on preventing the misuse of e-commerce platforms for trafficking in dangerous substances

Vienna, 7 January 2022 - The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) held a four-day Stakeholder Consultation on National/Regional Cooperation Frameworks for the Prevention of Misuse of E-commerce Platforms for Dangerous Substance Trafficking, from 13 December to 16 December 2021. The meeting was organized under the auspices of the INCB Global Rapid Interdiction of Dangerous Substances (GRIDS) Programme.

The meeting aimed to build on the achievements of the previous meetings organized by INCB, namely, the workshops held in Bangkok, Thailand in January 2019 and in Hanoi, Viet Nam in December 2019, and the online workshop held in July 2021, which focused on cooperation between Governments and e-commerce companies. The meeting brought together over 100 experts from 23 Governments, six international organizations, nine e-commerce companies (based in six countries), and one e-commerce industry association to exchange experiences and discuss possible ways in which Governments and e-commerce companies can establish national as well as regional cooperation frameworks to prevent exploitation of legitimate e-commerce services for trafficking in new psychoactive substances (NPS), non-medical synthetic opioids, and relevant precursors.

In her opening remarks at the commencement of the meeting on 13 December 2021, Ms. Jagjit Pavadia, the President of INCB, re-iterated the need to strengthen cooperation between Governments and industries vulnerable to exploitation for the trafficking of dangerous substances. Ms. Pavadia highlighted the Board's commitment to supporting Governments' in preventing trafficking in dangerous substances by encouraging cooperation with the 4M's of the supply chain - namely, Manufacture, Marketing, Movement, and Monetization - which are the most vulnerable links in the trafficking of illicit substance. In relation to exploitation of e-commerce marketplaces, the INCB President referred to the work of the Board in effectively promoting cooperation, partnerships, and sharing of information between Governments and Internet-related service companies.

Participants recognized the importance of e-commerce in ensuring safe access to medicines and other products of certified quality, and industry representatives shared their successful approaches to voluntarily monitoring their platforms to screen for illicit substances and suspicious online vendors engaged in trafficking of dangerous substances. These practices included refining keyword filters and developing and applying special algorithms supported by artificial intelligence to detect and remove suspicious online posts related to the sale of dangerous substances. Many Governments reported that they had developed comprehensive policies for establishing national cooperation mechanisms with private sector partners to share relevant information related to online sales of dangerous substances (including schemes, modalities, trends, changes in legislation, etc.) and expressed their willingness to extend such mechanisms beyond their national borders.

The workshop also provided participants with a brief overview of the achievements of the GRIDS Programme in facilitating public-private partnerships between governments and 4-M industries for effectively responding to trafficking in NPS and non-medical synthetic opioids. The meeting concluded on 16 December with the adoption of a set of practical recommendations to further promote voluntary cooperation between Governments and e-commerce companies and to encourage the expansion of such cooperation mechanisms beyond national borders.

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 INCB 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 Commission on Narcotic Drugs 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.

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