The UNODC International Collaborative Exercises (ICE) programme

Implementing Organization

The UNODC International Collaborative Exercises (ICE) programme is a laboratory proficiency test in the identification of drugs in seizures and biological specimens.  The biannual programme is provided free of charge to national drug testing and toxicology laboratories worldwide and allows participating laboratories to continuously monitor their performance in drug testing on a truly global scale.

Accomplishments to Date

Since its inception in 1995, over 400 laboratories from 110 countries and territories have participated and benefitted from UNODc quality assurance support and reference materials provision as part of participation. In 2023, 326 laboratories from 91 countries participated of which 23 were new and over 5300 units of reference materials of controlled drugs were provided. 

Project Activities

The options available for participation in the ICE programme are in the analysis of drugs in Seized Materials (SM) and in Biological Specimens (BS, specifically urine). Two rounds are offered per year with each round presenting participants with four different test samples for analysis in each test group. The analytical results returned by laboratories are evaluated by UNODC, a confidential report is provided to each laboratory on its own performance and following review by the UNODC International Panel of Forensic Experts, summary reports on each round of the exercises are published. 

Global Level Outcomes

Participation in such collaborative exercises, inter-laboratory comparisons or proficiency tests is one of the essential elements for the implementation of a laboratory quality management system and ultimately accreditation. This is recognized by the International Organization for Standardization in ISO/IEC 17025:2017, “General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories” as contributing to assuring the quality of test results. 

National Level Outcomes

Improve the national forensic capacity and capabilities of Member States to meet internationally accepted standards and ensure they have access to and use quality scientific and forensic services in their work. 

Current State Participants

In 2023, 326 laboratories from 91 countries participated in the ICE programme and received quality assurance support from UNODC. 


Conor Crean, Scientific Affairs Officer Laboratory and Scientific Services (DPA) (UNODC) P.O. Box 500, A-1400 Vienna, Austria Fax: (43-1) 26060 5967 Telephone: (43-1) 26060 4120 E-mail:unodc-lab [at] un [dot] org (unodc-lab[at]un[dot]org)