Second NDS User-Group Meeting

Vienna 4-6 November 1998

Draft Report


The participants of this meeting were welcomed by UNDCP, followed by an introduction to the meeting by Mr. H. Godhse, President INCB. The President emphasized the importance of communication by electronic means and especially enabling the National Drug Control Administrations to communicate among themselves and eventually minimizing the need for the INCB and an intermediator.

The participants worked in two groups exploring the electronic mechanisms for exchange of data simulating scenarios of: 1) two Governments dealing with the full cycle from I/E authorizations to statistics reported to INCB and, 2) multiple companies within a Government reporting details on production, manufacture etc. to their national administration for subsequent inclusion in the annual statistics provided to INCB.

The remaining modules (seizures, estimates, assessments etc) were demonstrated for completeness.

While countries such as: Canada, Poland, Hungary and Panama felt that they could use the system immediately, Germany considered integration of NDS with their existing systems as a better solution. The latter seems appropriate for countries with well functioning computerized national control systems, however, lacking the electronic communication facilities for international and intergovernmental data exchange.


UNDCP opened the meeting emphasizing that NDS was a tool designed to be used on three different levels of sophistication:

UNDCP informed the meeting that the UN was not in a position to develop a system which would fit 100% into 180 national administrations' existing IT environments. Germany and Canada seconded this statement and were willing to consider it as an "island in their existing IT landscape", if necessary.

UNDCP recognizes that it is much easier to implement NDS with Governments which have no or limited drug control computer systems in place than in countries where IT infrastructure is well developed and users being acquainted with national drug control system for decades (e.g Germany).

Progress report:

UNDCP informed the participants that issues raised at the first NDS usergroup meeting scheduled for implemention before the 2nd usergroup meeting were carried out except for the electronic transfer of new "master data" to all participants. However, this can be done immediately.

UNDCP has installed the system in 7 sites in Sri Lanka, 5 sites in Nepal and with our field office in Delhi. Germany were provided the software and installed the system themselves for testing.

UNDCP has provided a proposal to the UN development account for supporting NDS distribution, helpdesk functions and provide on-site training. ECOSOC approved the proposal in July 1998 and final approval by the UN General Assembly in expected before December 1998.

The Phare project has informed UNDCP that it foresees itself as willing to support the UNDCP Computerized system, as evidenced by the support shown at the 2nd Licit Drug Control Regional Conference, Prague, June 1998 from all the participants (except two countries) who preferred the UNDCP system.

EDI demonstration:

The EDI mechanism proves itself to be a very powerful and cost effective mechanism for collection of statical data from national companies, for exchanging data among Governments and for communication with INCB.

For countries with limited number of international trade transactions the existing application for handling Import / export documents were considered sufficient as they most likely were to key in the request received on paper.

However, for countries with many International trade transactions such as Germany UNDCP recommended that, for example, a secure web interface be tested out with which authorized companies would be able to do the "request" themselves. As Canada mentioned the underlying database is very solid and a good basis to build on. As such a web interface would need to be considered in conjunction with any existing security systems (firewall, protections etc. ) within a national administration. UNDCP would welcome a joint implement/test with existing users.

Next steps:

A priority list was established comprising of pending issues from the first usergroup meeting and issues raised in the second meeting.

Get the system into production at national administrations

Bug fixes (minor issue)

Short handbook or quick reference card explaining drug workflow, I/E module, preparations, manufacture, EDI etc. (UNDCP)

Primary enhancements / Developments

1. Word instead of WordPerfect for daily operations (I/E-module)

2. The possibility to create Import /export authorizations without creating the request

3. Provision of balance of estimates to be displayed (where and how to be decided by NDS users)

4. License module (32- bit)

5. re-export module (32- bit)

6. Full 32- bit version (including minor additional functionality)

Secondary Enhancement:

1. Additional containers for seizure information

2. Inspection module for the future

3. UNDCP modules (L.E, ARQ)

4. Stock adjustments for the establishment level data.

5. Export document created from Import documents reference (automatically)

6. Print from input screen and print multiple documents.

In parallel - Ongoing support:

1. Arrange for technical support for Governments (open position 1.1999 with UNDCP)

2. More languages (help file, manuals, tech. support)

3. INCB training material and other presentations

4. Technical documentation for NDS for systems integration

5. Time frame of update of EDI estimates from INCB

6. Remote installation and technical support possibilities

Integration with existing systems:

For countries with well functioning computerized drug control systems, UNDCP was requested to provide some assistance with understanding the Data Model and the technical documentation which are included in the NDS CD-rom version which countries receive. Germany explicitly enquired whether UNDCP could assist with mapping existing data elements for integration to their existing system. Such an exercise had already been done at UNDCP HQ for integrating NDS with UNDCP?s internal information system.

Possibilities to be jointly investigated:

The possibilities for Web-enabled certain modules (I/E module) were to be tested with some Governments. An interface would need to be seen in conjunction with national administrations' existing IT environment and requirements for security.

Time frame:

Short handbook or quick reference card

UNDCP will immediately initiate this and hopefully the first DRAFT handbook covering I/E issues will be distributed before Christmas 1998.

Primary enhancements / Developments:

This will depend on input received from NDS users (anticipated before December 1998). An official request for Proposal will then have to be issued by UN respecting the official 4 weeks response time as well as 1-2 weeks contract negotiations. After a contract has been concluded and funds allocated (pending General Assembly approval before December 1998) some 4-month execution time should be expected by the contractor.

Input 1 December 1998

rfp 15 December 1998

Response 15 January 1999

Contract 1 February 1999

Execution February - May 1999

Test and acceptance June 1998

Delivery July 1999

Annex 1

User id and password and how to access news group

update on nds users (address, phone, fax , mail)

List of participants