Launch of the INCB Annual Report 2011
The year 2011 witnessed several revolutions of the Arab Spring. These struggles, however, as well as the post-revolutionary state building and the insufficient capacities of security apparatuses have left national borders vulnerable to drug trafficking. This as well as other issues affecting the drug situation in the world were highlighted in the 2011 INCB Annual Report.
In cooperation with the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Cairo, and in the presence of a representative of the Egyptian Anti-Narcotics General Administration and UNIC Director, ROMENA launched the 2011 INCB Annual Report on 28 February 2012 in a press conference held at UNIC premises.
The report was presented by Mr. Faisal Hegazy, Programme Officer, who gave an overview of the drug situation in the world in general and the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) in particular. As far as MENA is concerned, the post-revolutionary transitional period has left Egypt increasingly vulnerable to drug trafficking. Hashish is being trafficked through Libya and heroine is coming in through Sudan. Mr. Hegazy highlighted the increasing resort to drug use in Egypt and the excessive popularity of "Tramadol" pills.
In discussing cannabis production in Morocco, the Report mentioned that the country remained the world's largest cannabis producer in spite of the fact that the area of cannabis cultivation in Morocco has decreased by 6 per cent in recent years. Similarly, Saudi Arabia and Jordan continue to be heavily affected by the large-scale trafficking of amphetamine. In 2010 alone, ten tonnes of amphetamines were seized. Saudi Arabia also remains to be the main destination for fake Captagon tablets.
At the global level, the Report highlighted the increasingly threatening ordeal of internet pharmacies that sell illicit drugs and prescription medicines. Online drug sales are a dire threat to the international community. Illicit websites now use social media and satellite TV channels to publicize their sites, which puts large audiences at risk. These sites succeeded in smuggling products to consumers and finding host space for their websites, thus convincing their audience that they are legitimate. It is recommended that government apparatuses focus on tracking and closing down such websites and that new legislation targeting this issue is drafted.
Slums remain centre points for organized crime throughout the MENA region and more broadly, on a global scale. In such areas, drug use and drug dealing dominate everyday life. The Report warned of the dangers of youth being influenced by this lifestyle and urged that effective solutions are found to improve living conditions and to reduce the high levels of unemployment.
INCB is the independent monitoring body for the implementation of the United Nations international drug control conventions. INCB publishes an annual report that provides a comprehensive survey of the drug control situation in various parts of the world. As an impartial body, INCB tries to identify and predict dangerous trends and suggests necessary measures to be taken.