VPEP / Geneva - Switzerland - The Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom, announced to the Vice-President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Jilata David Choquehuanca, that the organisation has initiated official procedures to carry out a critical review of the current classification of the coca leaf in Schedule 1 of the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The meeting took place in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday.
"A very important meeting was held between the Vice President of Bolivia and the Director General of the WHO in which the issue of the critical review of the coca leaf was addressed and it was officially announced by the Director General that the procedures have been initiated after receiving the notification from the Secretary General of the United Nations," explained Juan Carlos Alurralde, Secretary General of the Vice Presidency.
It should be recalled that Vice-President Choquehuanca, during his speech last March at the plenary of the 66th session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, demanded respect for the legitimate right of peoples to make "traditional, nutritional, therapeutic, ritual, industrial and commercial use of the coca leaf in its natural state".
Tedros Adhanom explained that the WHO will soon call for the formation of a committee of international experts in different fields. "An evaluation will be made of the coca leaf in terms of chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, natural medicine and traditional uses, the latter areas have been proposed by Bolivia, by our Vice-President, and experts in this area will also be taken into account and sought," Alurralde remarked.
The WHO Director also expressed his willingness to speed up the processes and to make sustained progress in this important critical review so that the results of the studies will be available in a timely manner.