World Health Day 2022 

VIENNA, 7 April 2022 - On the occasion of World Health Day 2022, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) is highlighting the importance of meeting the health and wellbeing objectives of the three international drug control conventions.

The theme of World Health Day 2022 is "Our planet, our health", acknowledging the linkages between health and the environment. This topic has proven increasingly relevant due to the impact that illicit drug cultivation, production and manufacture is having on the environment, in both industrialised and rural locations. Contamination of ground water through the dumping of toxic waste from illicit drug facilities, as well as deforestation and the loss of arable land due to illicit crop cultivation are some of the issues that the Board is working with Member States to prevent through implementation of the conventions, which provide for a balanced approach to drug demand and supply reduction.

INCB has also noted an increasing number of disasters caused by climate change and armed conflict, which, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, has not only significantly increased the number of people requiring humanitarian assistance but also greatly compounded the risks to humanitarian operations. In this vein, the international community cannot afford to lose sight of the need to address the uneven global availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for essential medical care, including in emergency situations.

To address these challenges, INCB has partnered with the World Health Organization, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, international humanitarian aid agencies and national authorities to produce lessons learned for the utilization of simplified control procedures for timely access to controlled substances during emergency situations. This issue is covered in detail in a global issue in the INCB annual report for 2021.

Together with the Chair of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, INCB was pleased to make a Joint Call to Action to raise awareness of the need to improve the availability of and access to internationally controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, including in emergency situations, to ensure that no patient is left behind.

In operationalising this call to action, and in recognition of the humanitarian crisis affecting Ukraine and neighbouring countries, INCB has joined with the World Customs Organization to call on customs authorities to expedite the cross-border movement of medicines containing internationally controlled substances, raising awareness about the simplified control procedures for emergency situations.

INCB is committed to supporting Member States in implementing the three international drug control conventions and in making progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 3 on health and well-being and SDG 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions.

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