INCB - International Narcotic Control Board
As early as 1929, following the International Convention on Opium in 1925, a body was created with the task of centralizing all information related to drugs; this institution was called Permanent Central Narcotics Board and was soon assisted by an independent Drug Supervisory Body. After the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, both bodies merged together to create the International Narcotic Control Board (INCB).
INCB is an independent body within the United Nations Organisation (UNO).
It monitors the implementation of narcotic and psychotropic drugs restrictions. It publishes a yearly report on the production, but also on the worldwide consumption of drugs. It identifies precursors that should be regulated.
It is considered a “quasi-judicial” body since its opinion can lead to sanctions towards States that don’t comply with its conventions.
In a nutshell, it is tasked with monitoring the implementation of the United Nations international drug control conventions (1961, 1971 and 1988) which regulate narcotic drugs and their precursors.
In particular, the INCB manages the availability of products that are regulated by various conventions for medical and scientific uses. It provides assistance in order to determine whether the chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of drugs are to be placed under the control of existing international conventions and how they should be controlled.
INCB publishes an annual report providing a comprehensive overview of its activities and of the drug control situation worldwide. This document is a basis to encourage States to strengthen their legislation regarding drugs.
In case of an apparent violation of the treaties, INCB asks for explanations from the signatory States that are not in full compliance with its commitments. Should it note that the necessary measures have not been adopted, it can raise the issue to the attention of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Even though INCB favours dialogue with signatory governments, as a last resort it can recommend to parties that they stop importing or exporting psychotropic drugs from or to a defaulting country.
The INCB comprises thirteen members who are elected by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). These members serve in their personal capacity – not as national representatives. Three members are elected from a list of persons nominated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for their medical, pharmacological or pharmaceutical experience. The remaining ten members are elected from a list of persons nominated by governments.
France and INCB
France takes an active part in INCB’s activities. It is represented in the Board by a magistrate who was elected by ECOSOC.