In a welcome break with its tradition of unwillingness to engage with civil society, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has announced that it is making it possible for selected NGOs to hold meetings with INCB delegates as part of their country visit itineraries.

The INCB makes dozens of country visits each year, many of which are simply focused entirely on technical issues, but in other cases there are important policy debates that result in formal correspondence, or observations in the INCB annual report. This new willingness to include NGO meetings in these visits has been negotiated by the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC), and provides an opportunity to put civil society concerns on to the INCB agenda. The list of countries that the INCB plans to visit in 2011 includes:

Afghanistan, Czech Republic, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, India, Iraq, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Serbia, USA, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

If you are an NGO based in one of these countries, and want to hold a meeting with the INCB delegation visiting your country, please download and complete the PDF request form, and return it as soon as possible to info@vngoc.org. If you are offered a meeting, do not hesitate to contact IDPC to discuss what issues it would be useful to raise, and let us know how the meeting goes.