For information only - not an official document

  16 November 2020

International Narcotics Control Board concludes 129th session

Treaty body confirms national estimates of controlled substances for medical purposes, analyses impact of COVID-19 pandemic on availability of controlled medicines and drug trafficking, and reviews compliance with the drug control conventions

VIENNA, 13 November (United Nations Information Service) - The International Narcotics Control Board has concluded its 129th session in Vienna. Over the past three weeks the Board has addressed a range of matters concerning the functioning of the international drug control system.

The Board reviewed the availability of controlled substances for medical purposes, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its Standing Committee on Estimates studied national estimates of requirements for controlled substances for licit medical, scientific and industrial purposes.  The Standing Committee also analysed the global balance between supply of opiate raw materials and demand for opiates for medical and scientific purposes, which is key to ensuring adequate availability for medical purposes while preventing the risk of diversion into illicit channels and abuse.

The Board reviewed national and regional drug control developments and implementation by States of the provisions of the conventions, and continued its dialogue with Member States on treaty compliance matters, including on the need to ensure that measures taken in the name of drug control respect human rights. It agreed upon recommendations to States to improve treaty implementation and the functioning of the international drug control system, which will be included in the Board's 2020 Annual Report to be published in early 2021.

INCB finalized an analysis on the use of drugs among older persons. This issue will be the focus of a thematic chapter of the INCB 2020 Annual Report.

On 11 November, INCB met with representatives of nearly 60 Member States on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the entry into force of the 1988 United Nations Convention against illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. These consultations were aimed at furthering discussions on possible ways of addressing the challenge posed by the continued emergence of non-controlled precursors and their use in illicit drug manufacture.

The Board also held consultations with delegations from the Philippines and Uruguay on their national drug control policies.

The Board reviewed its activities to support Member States, including INCB Learning, on precursors and new psychoactive substances, and the GRIDS (Global Rapid Interdiction of Dangerous Substances) Programme.

At the closing of the session, the President of the Board, Cornelis P. de Joncheere, referred to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected patterns of drug use and trafficking. He stressed the importance of ensuring continued licit international trade in controlled medicines, including those used in the treatment of COVID-19, and in ensuring that evidence-based services for the prevention of drug use and for the treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration of people with drug use disorders are sustained.


INCB is the independent, quasi-judicial body charged with promoting and monitoring 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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