Policy Frameworks and Norms

What are the relevant International Conventions and Treaties and why are they important?

International conventions are treaties or agreements between countries regarding issues of that require a coordinated approach. The term "international convention" is often used interchangeably with "international treaty," "international agreement," and the whole collection of treaties are referred to as the International Policy Framework.

Conventions may be general or specific, and involve two or more member states. Conventions between two member states are called bilateral treaties; conventions between a small number of states (but more than two) are called plurilateral treaties; conventions between a large number of states are called multilateral treaties. Conventions and treaties signed by member states bind them to the terms of that agreement through the domestic application of the treaty provisions.

Multilateral conventions such as the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961, Amended 1972) are supervised by multilateral “treaty bodies” such as the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which convenes twice a year in Vienna, Austria. The IAHPC has official status to participate in those meetings, and advocates that member states improve access to internationally controlled essential medicines, per their “treaty obligations” under the Single Convention and other “drug control” agreements.

This section includes a list of the existing Conventions and Treaties as well as Treaty Interpretations, Member States’ documents, civil society initiatives relevant to palliative care and to the availability and access to opioids for pain treatment. The Advocacy Page of our website chronicles all the advocacy work we do within the normative and technical framework these documents provide. Our membership and palliative care partners can their governments implement their provisions to ensure that national laws and regulations include palliative care per their treaty obligations. The documents can be used for your own reference and advocacy efforts to improve access to treatment and care. If you have any questions, please reach out to our Advocacy Officer, Dr. Katherine Pettus [email protected].