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Impact of illicit drugs on economic development focus of UN expert panel meeting

Impact of illicit drugs on economic development focus of UN expert panel meeting

A United Nations expert panel today began discussions in Vienna on the impact of illicit drug cultivation, trade and abuse on overall economic development.

“The focus is on economic development because it is a crucial element of the process of sustainable and human development,” explained Dr. Philip Emafo, President of the 13-member International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).

According to the UN, the overwhelming share of profits made from illicit drug trafficking is not spent in the countries where crops are grown but in the countries where the finished products are sold and abused.

“Only one per cent of the money that is ultimately spent by drug abusers is generated as farm income in developing countries,” said Dr. Emafo. “The remaining 99 per cent of global illicit drug income are earned by drug trafficking groups operating at various other points along the drug trafficking chain.”

Since its last session in May, the Board has sent missions to Afghanistan, Albania, China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Guyana, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Namibia, Netherlands Antilles, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Suriname, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Tunisia. The Board will review the report of these missions and examine how governments and territories are implementing the provisions of the international drug control treaties.

Through its Standing Committee on Estimates, the Board is also expected to review the worldwide supply and demand of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical purposes and establish or confirm quotas for narcotic drugs for every country in the world. A representative from the UN World Health Organization (WHO) will address the Board on health-related issues in the field of drugs during this session.

The Vienna-based Board is an independent body established by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs to monitor governments’ compliance with international drug control treaties. Its members are elected by the UN Economic and Social Council to serve in their individual capacities for five-year terms.