Skip to main content

Providing Technical Assistance to Build Capacity in Drug Prevention and Control

Providing Technical Assistance to Build Capacity in Drug Prevention and Control

One of the objectives of UNICRI is to enhance the capacity of national governments through training and technical assistance. The project Improving the Implementation of the International Drug Control Conventions through Enhanced Cooperation between INCB and National Drug Control Administrations aims to address the principal inadequacies faced by national competent authorities in the implementation of the Conventions.

The three international drug control treaties, namely 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 are the pillars of the international drug control system. Many governments are facing inadequacies in the full implementation of the provision of the conventions.

The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) is mandated to publish each year two reports based on the data parties of those treaties are obligated to submit, which provide details on estimates of the annual legitimate requirements of each country, as well as data on the licit production, manufacture, trade and consumption of drugs worldwide.

Due to a lack of expertise in the national drug control administrations, more than 20 per cent of countries fail to comply with their reporting obligations. As reported in the INCB Annual Report 2012, “up to 50 per cent of countries and territories in Africa, the Caribbean and Oceania do not submit the required statistical forms on psychotropic substances. This might be an indication that those Governments have yet to establish the necessary legal or administrative structures to enable their competent national authorities to collect and compile the required information and that those Governments may not be fully aware of the specific reporting requirements on psychotropic substances as they relate to their territories and that they require capacity-building in that regard”.

Statistical data and the provision of estimates and assessments, as required by the international drug control treaties and related resolutions of the Economic and Social Council and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, are often late, incomplete or delayed. In many countries, monitoring and control of licit activities related to narcotics drugs, psychotropic substances and precursor chemicals are insufficient or inadequate, resulting in diversion and abuse.

At the same time a fundamental aim of the international drug control conventions is to ensure the adequate availability of internationally controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes. However, large disparities in consumption levels of psychotropic substances still prevail among countries and regions. Many countries are challenged by various impediments to availability of controlled substances, including regulatory and economic impediments, health infrastructure inadequacies, cultural differences. An important objective of the project is therefore to help countries to identify the particular impediments for the scientific and medical use of internationally controlled substances.

To address these disparities, to enhance governance of national drug control systems and to improve governments’ ability to ensure availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, UNICRI, in collaboration with the INCB Secretariat, is implementing a programme towards the objectives of achieving: (i) increased cooperation and support to Governments to improve the statistical returns system and the existing international system of estimates of licit requirements for narcotic drugs and voluntary assessment for psychotropic substances; (ii) increased cooperation and support to Governments to improve their reporting of statistical data to the Board; (iii) improving domestic reporting mechanisms and cooperation among government agencies involved; (iv) improving the ability of governments to increase the availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes; (v) preventing the diversion and abuse of pharmaceutical preparations containing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances; (vi) preventing the illegal sale of internationally controlled substances through the Internet; and (vii) the control of precursor chemicals.

A training course with participation of 12 Governmental Delegations from West African countries was delivered in June 2013 at the UNECA HQ in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in collaboration with the Secretariat of the INCB, the WHO Regional Office for Africa and the UNODC.

UNICRI is currently seeking support to replicate the training programme in South East Asia and in the Pacific Islands, where some governments face serious challenges, both in terms of failure in reporting and in crime control. According to the cited INCB report, “Oceania is currently the region with the largest number of non-parties to the International drug control conventions, being affected by high prevalence rates of cannabis and methamphetamine abuse and increased trafficking in and illicit manufacture of drugs, easily being used by traffickers in facilitating the supply to the Australian and New Zealand illicit markets”.

The training materials can be accessed through the following link