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INCB 71st session

18 May 2001

International Narcotics Control Board to Focus on High Tech Challenges to Drug Law Enforcement

VIENNA, 18 May (UN Information Service) - The impact of recent advancements in high technology and globalization on international drug law enforcement efforts will be a key topic reviewed by a United Nations drug control monitoring body as it meet here next week. Beginning its 71st session on 21 May, the Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) will not only focus on Member States compliance with international anti-drug conventions but will also discuss the scope of its next annual report for 2001.

The Board is mandated to review the functioning of the international drug control regime and also highlight world drug abuse and trafficking trends in the form of an annual report. For the past years the Board has also singled out a key issue of concern as a major focus topic for each report. During the current session, the thirteen independent experts will begin discussion on the issue of high tech challenges to drug law enforcement that will be the main topic of this year's report, to be issued in early 2002.

The misuse of rapidly advancing modern technologies, especially in the field of telecommunications has been a growing concern for the Board. The Internet, as a source of easy access to illegal drug taking as well as a source of propaganda for drug abuse and trafficking has been highlighted by the Board in its previous reports, most recently in its report of 2000.

This year the INCB is expected to look at the broader criminal abuse potential of telecommunication technologies especially from the point of view of hindering law enforcement. The review is expected to take into account the fact that since the adoption of the latest of the three international drug control treaties in1988, major advancements have taken place in high technologies that have had an effect which was not forseeable a decade ago. The Board is also expected to agree on a set of recommendations for action on both national and international levels for all concerned, including governments, the IT industry and the public at large.

The Board will also review measures taken by Argentina, Belize, Gabon, Myanmar and the Netherlands based on the recommendations of the Board made in 1998 following missions to those countries. The INCB will also make confidential country-level drug control assessments based on its most recent findings during missions it undertook since its last meeting in November 2000. Those missions were to Croatia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Eritrea, Jamaica, Jordan, Pakistan, Thailand, Venezuela and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The Board is a quasi-judicial organ of the United Nations responsible for the promotion of government compliance with the provisions of the drug control treaties as well as for assisting governments in their efforts to meet their treaty obligations. The three international drug control treaties in force are: the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

The Board is composed of thirteen independent experts elected in their individual capacities by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The current session of INCB comes two weeks after ECOSOC elected five new members to the Board who will take up their positions next year. The Board at its upcoming session is expected to elect a new President. Dr. Hamid Ghodse (Iran) has been the President since May last year.

The thirteen members of the Board are: Edouard Armenakovich Babayan (Russian Federation), Chinmay Chakrabarty (India), Dr. Nelia P. Cortes-Maramba (Philippines), Dr. Philip O. Emafo (Nigeria), Jacques Franquet (France), Dr. Hamid Ghodse (Iran), N?zhet Kandemir (Turkey), Dil Jan Khan (Pakistan), Maria Elena Medina-Mora (Mexico), Herbert S. Okun (United States of America), Dr. Alfredo Pemjean (Chile), Sergio Uribe Ramirez (Colombia) and Jiwang Zheng (China).


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