I.N.C.B. Annual Report 2016

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INCB notes that, in the outcome document, Member States underscored the role of the three international drug control treaties as the basis for international cooperation, ensuring the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes, preventing illicit drug crop cultivation and production and addressing drug trafficking and abuse. Governments have demonstrated that they intend to fulfil their joint commitments to cooperate on demand and supply reduction as well as on preventing diversion. At the special session of the General Assembly, the international community reaffirmed the pivotal role of the conventions and reiterated its commitment to their implementation. However, some actors will continue to talk about a need to “modernize” the treaties and their provisions; INCB is of the view that the international drug control system continues to provide a modern and flexible structure that can meet the world’s drug control needs of today and tomorrow.

In that context, INCB calls upon all stakeholders to place science and evidence-based approaches at the centre of drug control discussions. INCB sees its treaty-mandated role in determining the extent to which implementation at the national level is within the flexibility allowed for by the conventions. As we have often pointed out, the conventions provide for a certain flexibility at the national level, particularly with respect to determining appropriate sanctions, including non- punitive or non-custodial measures, for minor offences, for example for possession of drugs for personal use. However, flexibility has limits; it does not extend to regulating the use of drugs for non- medical purposes. States parties are now challenged to examine how to respond to the developments in some countries that are in contravention of the treaties by permitting and regulating the nonmedical use of drugs. A special topic in chapter II of the present report explores the possible effects of legislation in several jurisdictions that permits the non-medical use of cannabis.

The success of future international cooperation on drug control will depend on the ability of States parties to recognize that the treaties emphasize, first and foremost, the health needs and human rights of individuals. As a treaty-monitoring body, INCB assumes that the States parties themselves understand that it is their treaty obligation to prevent and treat drug abuse and reduce its negative consequences, based on the principles and provisions of the conventions and political declarations. Protecting the health and welfare of humankind remains the ultimate goal of the international drug control system; all drug-related policies and programmes that address current challenges in a balanced manner, in conformity with the treaties and with respect for human rights, will continue to be acknowledged and supported by INCB.

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