May 10th, 2007 04:21 EST
Five new experts join UN anti-narcotics panel
Five new experts from three continents have joined the 13-member independent body monitoring the implementation of United Nations drug control conventions, which began its latest session today in Vienna.
Raymond Yans (Belgium), Xin Yu (China), Carola Lander (Germany), Sri Suryawati (Indonesia) and Maria-Elena Medina Mora (Mexico) were elected by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to serve five-year terms on the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).
They join INCB President Philip O. Emafo of Nigeria, Brian Watters (Australia), Camilo Uribe Granja (Colombia), Joseph Bediako Asare (Ghana), Hamid Ghodse (Iran), Tatyana Borisovna Dmitrieva (Russian Federation), Sevil Atasoy (Turkey) and Melvyn Levitsky (United States).
Meeting in closed session in the Austrian capital, the Board will consider the latest developments in more than 200 countries and territories, discuss shortcomings in some countries’ drug control systems and devise proposals to overcome these deficiencies.
The Board, which is meeting through 18 May, will also focus on the specific situations in Bhutan, Colombia, Liberia, Nepal and the Republic of Congo after undertaking missions to those nations. Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister of Counter Narcotics Col. Gen. Khodaidad will speak about the efforts made by that country’s Government to tackle its serious problem with illicit drugs.
INCB members serve in an individual capacity and monitor compliance with the provisions of the international drug control treaties. The panel ensures that adequate supplies of legal drugs are available for medical and scientific purposes, and makes certain that no leakage from licit sources of drugs to illicit trafficking occurs. It also identifies and helps to correct weaknesses in drug control systems and determines which chemicals used to manufacture drugs should be under international control.