Wednesday, April 27, 2011

International Narcotics Control Strategy Report – International Perspective


The United Nations conducted a series of meetings in 1988 to discuss, review and produce an international response to the negative impact caused by upward global trends in illicit drug activities within many borders of countries throughout the world.  The outcome of those discussions produced an international agreement that outlined obligations that each signer agreed to implement in their respective countries.  The agreement was signed by 179 countries including the United States of America. The agreement title that was signed is  1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988 U.N. Convention). 

The 1988 U.N. Convention’s obligations required the signers to establish and take legal actions to prosecute any illicit drug activities within their borders including drug money laundering, illicit drug production, and trafficking.  In addition to those obligations, the convention requires countries to set strict controls on chemicals that can be used to produce illicit drugs and to cooperate in the international efforts to reduce the global illicit drug trade.

In response to the 1988 U.N. Convention, the United States Congress appropriated monies to support the Convention and amended the Foreign Assistance Act (FFA) of 1961 with criteria on how the monies will be used to meet the obligations that the agreement outlined.  The U.S. Congress also added a reporting requirement, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), that is submitted annually by the President.   The President assigned the Department of State the responsibility to produce the annual report and to implement the 1988 U.N. Convention.

The Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Division of the Department of State is the inter agency responsible to generate the INCSR, implement the obligations stated in the 1988 U.N. Convention and allocate financial assistance grants to countries as authorized by the amended Foreign Assistance Act (FFA) of 1961.
  • The INCSR report reviews each country’s compliance level to the 1988 U.N. Convention and how that country is cooperate with the United States of America.  The President certifies if a country has taken adequate steps on their own to meet the Convention obligations, if the country is in total compliance with the Convention, or if the country has failed to meet the obligations of the Convention.
  • Financial grants to support a country’s compliance with the 1988 U.N. Convention is dependent on the President’s annual certification status of that country. If a county is not in compliance or is not working towards compliance, then no funding is granted to that country. Furthermore, the report provides a full and complete description of the vital national interest placed at risk if the United States assistance to that country is terminated (FAA § 490).

The Question and Answer section below summarizes the key parts of the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 1, March 2011.


QUESTION 1: What do these countries have in common - Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Bolivia, Burma, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

ANSWER:  Major illicit drug producing and drug-transit countries - a major illicit drug producing country is one in which 2,471 acres or more of illicit opium poppy is cultivated or harvested during a year; or, 2,471 acres or more of illicit coca is cultivated or harvested during a year; or 12,355 acres or more of illicit cannabis is cultivated or harvested during a year FAA § 481(e)(2). A major drug-transit country is one that is a significant direct source of illicit narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances significantly affecting the United States; or through which are transported such drugs or substances. FAA § 481(e) (5).

QUESTION 2: What do these countries have in common - Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Germany, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

ANSWER: Production of chemicals - A major source for chemical compounds or essential chemicals that are used in the production of illicit narcotics.

QUESTION 3: What do these countries have in common - Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Burma, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Islands, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guernsey, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Somalia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

ANSWER: Major money laundering activities - a major money laundering country is defined by statute as one "whose financial institutions engage in currency transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds from international narcotics trafficking." FAA § 481(e)(7). However, the complex nature of money laundering transactions today makes it difficult in many cases to distinguish the proceeds of narcotics trafficking from the proceeds of other serious crime. Moreover, financial institutions engaging in transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds of other serious crime are vulnerable to narcotics-related money laundering. This year‘s list of major money laundering countries recognizes this relationship by including all countries and other jurisdictions, whose financial institutions engage in transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds from all serious crime.

QUESTION 4: How much federal money is spent annually to support the Foreign Assistance Act?

ANSWER:  1.6 Billion Dollars Annually - the money is used to meet the goals and objectives of the 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.  The UN Drug Convention was signed by 179 countries. The United States Congress allocated 1.6 billion dollars in fiscal year 2011 for the following regions: Africa, 35.5 million; East Asia and the Pacific,18.6 million; Europe, N/A; Near East, 178.2 million; South and Central Asia, 554.0 million; Western Hemisphere, 607.4 million; and Other Global Programs, 203.2 million.


The intent of this article is to show how the United States interacts with other countries to slow down or eradicate illicit drug activates in those countries.  The 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances is one of many avenues that are used to fight the war on illicit drug activities worldwide.