The structure and functions of the International Narcotics Control Board.

The International Narcotics Control Board is an independent organization that has powers resembling those of a court of law or a judge. It imposes legal penalties on a person or organization that violates the provisions of the UN drug conventions by reducing their export quota of drugs such as opium and cannabis. It also recommends to other parties that they stop the export, import or both of particular psychotropic substances from or to the country concerned. Its roles are defined by the Single convention on Narcotic drugs of 1961, Convention on Psychotropic substances of 1971 and the United Nations Convention against illicit traffic in Narcotic drugs and Psychotropic substances of 1988.

 The Single Convention on Narcotic drugs has given the INCB a role to limit cultivation, production, manufacture and the use of drugs for medical and scientific purposes only. The organization also has to ensure the availability of drugs for medical purposes and also prevent illicit cultivation, production and manufacture of drugs.  It is further responsible for allocating quotas among parties which cultivate, produce, manufacture, export, import and distribute licit drugs to prevent leakage of drugs to illicit traffic. The Convention on Psychotropic Substances requires the organization to issue annual reports on its work and the United Nations Convention against illicit traffic in Narcotic drugs and Psychotropic substances has given the organization a responsibility to notify the UN Secretary General when it has information that may justify adding a substance or deleting it from tables I and II of the 1988 convention.

    The board is made up of 13 members,  3 of the members are nominated by World Health Organization with medical and pharmacological experience  and the rest are elected from a list of people nominated by governments who are members of the UN. The current president of the International Narcotics Control Board is Professor Hamid Ghodse, an Iranian physician and Professor of Psychiatry and International drug policy at the University of London. He is also a Director of the international centre for drug policy at St. George medical school. He is an international drug control expert, an author of over 300 scientific papers on drug related issues and has served eight times as the board’s president. The first vice president is Carola Lander from Germany, The second Vice president is Sri Suryawati from Indonesia and a rapporteur of the board is Raymond Yans from Belgium. These officers are nominated by the UN member states and they need to have knowledge of the drug situation in countries that produce, manufacture and consume the drugs. The officers serve for one year and can be re-elected while other members can serve for 5 years. The members of the INCB serve in their own personal capacity and not as government representatives. The Secretariat of the INCB is Jonathan Lucas from Seychelles and his roles involve assisting the board in its functions given by the treaties. He also works as an ‘administrative entity’ of the UNODC in Vienna. The work of INCB is financed by the UN so as to prevent the organization from getting undue pressure from any country.