United Nations Convention against the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: Vienna, Austria
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 11/11/1990


Good Governance

Sub category




What is it about?

This Convention promotes international cooperation against the illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Drug trafficking under this Convention is specifically recognized as an international crime. State parties are required to criminalize certain offences related to drug trafficking under their national legislation, to cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of these offences and to confiscate property, proceeds and instrumentalities used in illicit trafficking. The Convention includes a framework for international cooperation to pursue traffickers and may be used as a legal basis for extradition. State parties agree to implement legislation permitting both the confiscation of illegal substances as well as any proceeds derived from their sale. They are further required to undertake measures to prevent diversion of substances used for the purpose of illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances and to limit their distribution. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) investigates failures to fulfil the requirements of the Convention. The Board endeavours to ensure that adequate supplies are available for medical and scientific uses and that leakages from licit sources to illicit traffic do not occur. To this end, it administers an estimates system for narcotic drugs and a voluntary assessment system for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and monitors international trade in drugs through the statistical returns system. The Board monitors government control over chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of drugs, and assists in preventing diversion of these chemicals into illicit traffic. The Board also identifies where weaknesses in the national and international control systems exist and contributes to correcting the situation. Further, the Board is responsible for assessing chemicals used to illicitly manufacture drugs.

Why is it relevant?

The 1988 Convention requires State parties to criminalize all activities linked to the illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

Additional Information



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