VIENNA, 3 September (United Nations Information Service) - How to ensure the availability of internationally controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes while preventing illicit cultivation and production, diversion, trafficking and abuse, including during the COVID-19 pandemic is being discussed this week in Vienna at the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) 128th session. Postponed from May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is being held in a hybrid format to enable Members to participate virtually from around the world. At elections held yesterday, the Board renewed the mandate of its President, Cornelis P. de Joncheere, and elected a new Bureau for a one-year term.

During the session, which is taking place from 31 August to 4 September 2020, the Board is reviewing the compliance of Member States with the three international drug control conventions and the functioning of the international drug control system.

The session opened with a meeting of the Board's Standing Committee on Estimates, which looked at national estimates of requirements for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes and reviewed annual legitimate requirements of precursors for licit industrial use submitted by governments for those chemicals that are frequently subject to diversion to the illicit manufacture of drugs.

In plenary, the Board is working on the preparation of its annual report for 2020, which will include a thematic chapter on drug use among older persons and is considering civil society perspectives on the topic in the form of written submissions provided by the Vienna Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) Committee on Drugs. During the session, the Board will meet with the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Ghada Waly.

At the opening of the session, the Board welcomed three new Members, who had been elected by the Economic and Social Council in 2019: César T. Arce Rivas, Viviana Manrique Zuluaga and Zukiswa Zingela.

The composition of the INCB Bureau following the 2 September elections:

  • Cornelis P. de Joncheere - President of the Board
  • Luis A. Otárola Peñaranda - First Vice-President
  • Jagjit Pavadia - Second Vice-President and Chair of the Standing Committee on Estimates, and Member, Committee on           Finance and Administration
  • Bernard Leroy - Rapporteur