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Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 16:06

Article 5


Introductory paragraph of article S of the 1972 Protocol and paragraph S of article 12 of the amended Single Convention

Article 12, paragraph 5, of the Single Convention shall be amended to read as follows:

"5. The Board, with a view to limiting the use and distribution of drugs to an adequate amount required for medical and scientific purposes and to ensuring their availability for such purposes, shall as expeditiously as possible confirm the estimates, including supplementary estimates, or, with the consent of the Government concerned, may amend such estimates. In case of a disagreement between the Govermnent and the Board, the latter shall have. the right to establish, communicate and publish its own estimates, including supplementary estimates."


1. The estimates as confirmed by the Board determine under the unamended Single Convention the amounts of drugs which each country or territory' may annually obtain by manufacture or import or both? They do not determine the amounts of opium, cannabis, cannabis resin or coca leaves which may be produced.3

2. The amended Single Convention continues to provide for the determination of the annual limits of narcotics supplies by manufacture or import or both on the basis of estimates of drug requirements furnished by Governments or, in the event of their failure to supply them, established by the Board;° but in addition, it requires Parties to furnish to the Board each year estimates of the area and the geographic location of land to be used for the cultivation of the opium poppy, of the approximate quantity of opium to be produced, of the number of industrial establishments which will manufacture synthetic drugs and of the quantities of synthetic drugs to be manufactured by each of these establishments.5 These additional estimates directly determine the limits of the quantities of the matters to which they relate, while the other estimates,6 i.e. the estimates of narcotics requirements, form only the basis for computing the limits of narcotics supplies.

3. The 1972 Protocol brings two amendments to article 12, paragraph 5: one indicating the purpose of the Board's examination of the estimates, and a second stating the Board's right, in cases in which it disagrees on estimates or supplementary estimates with a Government which furnished them, to establish, communicate and publish its own "estimates".

4.   The Board has always been guided by the view that the purpose of its examination of the estimates is to ensure as far as possible that they are neither overestimates nor underestimates, and thus to limit the legal supplies of narcotic drugs to quantities adequate for medical and scientific purposes. It has not only endeavoured to prevent excessive supplies which might contribute to a tendency of diversion of legal supplies into illicit channels, but also to ensure that its administration of the estimate system does not cause countries or territories difficulties in providing themselves with drugs which they need for medical purposes . 7 The first amendment of article 12, paragraph 5 thus only emphasizes what had already been the practice of the Board.

5. It is submitted that even under the unamended text of the Single Convention the Board is entitled to establish, communicate and publish "estimates"-i.e. figures which it thinks would be appropriate-which differ from those furnished by Governments. That authority is implied in the Board's right to issue pursuant to article 12, paragraph 6 such information on the estimates as in its opinion will facilitate the carrying out of the Single Conventions The specific recognition of that right of the Board in the second amendment of article 12, paragraph 5 is obviously motivated by the consideration that it would be useful to emphasize that it would in some cases be advisable to communicate and publish those "estimates" which the Board considers adequate, in. addition to those furnished by Governments which did not consent to the changes proposed by the Board.

6.   It is submitted that only the estimates furnished by Governments 9 or amended with their consent determine the legally relevant quantities for the purposes of article 19, paragraphs 2 and 5, article 21, article 21 bis, paragraphs 1 and 2 and article 31, paragraph 1, subparagraph (b). Parties may however sometimes find it advisable to compute the limits of their exports to. a country or territory under article 31, paragraph 1, subparagraph (b) on the basis of the different "estimates" furnished by the Board.10

1 Article 1, para. 1, subpara. (y).

2 Article 21, see also article 31, para. 1, subpara. (b).

3 Article 1, para. 1, subpara. (t); see also article 4, para. (c) and as regards opium article 24; the 1953 Protocol also does not determine by the estimate system the amounts of opium which each country or territory may produce; see articles 8, 5 and 6 of the Protocol.

4 Article 12, para. 3

5 Article 19, para. 1, subparas. (e) to (h) and para. 5 in the form established by the 1972 Protocol.

6 Article 19, para. 1, subparas. (a) to (d); see also article 19, para. 2.

7 1961 Commentary, paras. 1 and 2 of the comments on article 12, para. 4 (p. 162); the (Drug) Supervisory Body was also guided by the same view in its examination of the estimates under the 1931 Convention.

8 The Board could also publish the estimates which it considers appropriate, in a report issued under article 15, para. 1.

9 Or established by the Board pursuant to article 12, para. 3.

10 1972 Records, vol. 11, para. 35 of the summary records of the nineteenth meeting of Committee I (p. 152); the difficult problems involved in applying article 31, para. 1, subpara. (b) have been discussed in the 1961 Commentary paras. 7 to 12 of the comments on article 31, para. 1 (pp. 350-35-2).


Our valuable member Administrator has been with us since Monday, 28 April 2008.

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