The year 2012 marks the centenary of the international drug control system and the first instance of a state being moved to denounce formally any of the UN drug control treaties. The 55th session of the Commission on Narcotics Drugs (CND), held in Vienna between 12th and 16th March, therefore looked set to be a fascinating event and did not disappoint. As expected, member states favouring the current regime praised its virtues and ongoing relevance 100 years since The Hague Opium Convention; behaviour that found support in the statements and positions of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB or Board).
The 54th Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was the first for the new Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Mr. Yury Fedotov, who held his maiden speech. It was also the first meeting since several states had objected to Bolivia’s proposed amendment to remove coca chewing from the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Furthermore, 2011 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Convention: the bedrock of the current prohibition-oriented control system. TNI hosted a side event that critically examined the significance and shortcomings of the Convention and discussed the current state of affairs of Bolivia's amendment on coca chewing.