Jonathan Lucas

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Jonathan Lucas
Director of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute
Assumed office
May, 2011
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Preceded by Sandro Calvani
28th Chief of the Secretariat and Secretary, International Narcotics Control Board
In office
March 22, 2010 – May, 2011
Preceded by Koli Kouame
Succeeded by Andrés Finguerut
Personal details
Residence Vienna, Austria
Alma mater Graduate Institute of International Studies
Acadia University

Jonathan Lucas was appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 22 March 2010 as the Secretary of the International Narcotics Control Board and Chief of the International Narcotics Control Board Secretariat. In this position, Mr. Lucas is in charge of the permanent staff in at the United Nations in Vienna working on the international drug control treaties. The Board has had predecessors since the time of under the League of Nations, starting in 1909 in Shanghai with the International Opium Commission, the first international drug control conference. The International Opium Convention of 1925 established the Permanent Central Board (first known as the Permanent Central Opium Board and then as the Permanent Central Narcotics Board). That Board started its work in 1929. After the dissolution of the League, the 1946 Protocol Amending the Agreements, Conventions and Protocols on Narcotic Drugs concluded at The Hague on 23 January 1912, at Geneva on 11 February 1925 and 19 February 1925, and 13 July 1931, at Bangkok on 27 November 1931 and at Geneva on 26 June 1936, created a Supervisory Body to administer the estimate system. The functions of both bodies were merged into the Board by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The composition of the Board under the Single Convention was strongly influenced by the 1946 treaty.


Article 9 of the Single Convention provides that the Board shall endeavour to:

  • Limit the cultivation, production, manufacture and use of drugs to an adequate amount required for medical and scientific purposes;
  • Ensure their availability for such purposes; and
  • Prevent illicit cultivation, production and manufacture of, and illicit trafficking in and use of, drugs.

Thus, the Single Convention seeks to allow medical and scientific use of psychoactive drugs while preventing recreational use. Accordingly, Article 12 gives the Board the responsibility of allocating quotas among Parties concerning licit cultivation, production, manufacture, export, import, distribution and trade in an attempt to prevent leakage of drugs from licit sources into the illicit traffic. The Board establishes estimates for all nations, including non-Parties to the Single Convention.

Article 18 of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances requires the Board to issue annual reports on its work.

Article 12 of the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances requires the Board to report annually to the Commission on the implementation of the Convention's restrictions on chemicals in Table I and Table II, the treaty's two categories of precursor substances in illicit drug manufacture. In the case of a precursor substance not yet regulated, the Convention also requires the Board to communicate to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs an assessment of the substance if it finds that:

  • The substance is frequently used in the illicit manufacture of a narcotic drug or psychotropic substance; and
  • The volume and extent of the illicit manufacture of a narcotic drug or psychotropic substance creates serious public health or social problems, so as to warrant international action.

The Convention requires the Board to notify the United Nations Secretary-General whenever it has information which, in its opinion, may justify adding a substance to, deleting a substance from, or transferring a substance between, the Tables. The Secretary-General then transmits that information to the Parties and the Commission, and the Commission makes the decision, "taking into account the comments submitted by the Parties and the comments and recommendations of the Board, whose assessment shall be determinative as to scientific matters, and also taking into due consideration any other relevant factors".

Enforcement powers[edit]

Article 14 of the Single Convention, Article 19 of the Convention on Psychotropic Drugs, and Article 22 of the Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances give the Board the authority to investigate the failure of any country or region to carry out the Convention's provisions. This includes countries that are not Parties to the Conventions. The Board can ask for explanations from the Government in question, propose that a study of the matter be carried out in its territory, and call upon the Government to adopt remedial measures.

If the Board finds that the Government has failed to give satisfactory explanations, or has failed to adopt remedial measures that it has been called upon to take, the Board can call the attention of the Parties, the Council, and the Commission to the matter. The Board can also publish a report on the matter for communication to all Parties. Under some circumstances, it can penalize a violator by reducing its export quota of opium, under the provisions of Article 21 bis.[1] The Board can even "recommend to the Parties that they stop the export, import, or both, of particular psychotropic substances, from or to the country or region concerned, either for a designated period or until the Board shall be satisfied as to the situation in that country or region." The Commentary to the Convention on Narcotic Drugs points out, "This is a very serious measure, and it cannot be assumed that the Board has that authority except in very grave situations".[2] Decisions under Article 19 require a two-thirds vote of the Board.

The Commentary to the Convention on Psychotropic Substances notes, "Since the Board is not in continuous session and in fact meets only a few weeks each year, it has to delegate to its secretariat the required authority in order to maintain between its sessions 'the mechanism for a continuing dialogue' with Governments".[3]

Prior to his appointment as Secretary of the INCB, Mr. Lucas served as Regional Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Southern Africa, based in Pretoria.

Mr. Lucas started his professional career in 1982 as Consultant with the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Switzerland and subsequently joined the United Nations in 1984 as Associate Social Affairs Officer. Throughout his career, Mr. Lucas served in various capacities, including as Legal and First Officer for the policy-making organs of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) and as Senior Programme Management Officer with the Office of the Executive Director/Director-General of the then United Nations Office on Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP)/United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV). From 1998 to 2004, Mr. Lucas served as Secretary of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) and Secretary of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ).

Mr. Lucas holds a doctoral degree in International Law/Economics from the Graduate Institute of International Studies (IUHEI), Geneva, Switzerland and a master's degree in Political Science from Acadia University, Wolfville, Canada.


External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Koli Kouame
Chief of the Secretariat and Secretary, International Narcotics Control Board
22 March 2010 - present
Succeeded by