Establishment of tobacco industry monitoring centres
The Conference of the Parties, at its sixth session, adopted a decision to further promote the implementation of Article 5.3 and its Guidelines among the Parties, especially in relation to the industry efforts to undermine tobacco control efforts internationally. (Read the decision FCTC/COP6(14) here)
Both Article 5.3 guidelines and the decision FCTC/COP6(14) recognize the need to monitor implementation of Article 5.3, including the monitoring of the tobacco industry interference and the measures to counteract them.
This need led to the initiation of a project on tobacco industry monitoring centres within the BRICS framework (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and beyond with the primary aim of monitoring the strategies of the tobacco industry. The first such monitoring centre was recently launched in Brazil.
Parties are using the new reporting platform
25 Parties (Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Burundi, France, Guinea, Honduras, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Madagascar, Mali, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Niger, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), have submitted the 2016 implementation report through the new reporting platform of the WHO FCTC and other 136 are shown in the platform to have started working on their reports. The Secretariat welcomes especially Guinea and Nicaragua, that submitted an implementation report for the first time!
The deadline for submission of Parties’ implementation reports is 30 April 2016.
Tobacco industry is part of the problem not of the solution
As the European Commission contemplates whether or not to renew a 2004 anti-illicit trade agreement with Philip Morris International (PMI), Dr Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, Head of the Convention Secretariat (WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control), reiterates in an op-ed published yesterday in the EU Observer, that there is no common ground between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interests.
Such agreement would not be in line with the EU’s obligations as a Party to the WHO FCTC. Close collaboration with the tobacco industry is in direct conflict with article 8.12 of the Protocol stating that “obligations assigned to a Party shall not be performed by or delegated to the tobacco industry”. Furthermore, Article 5.3 of the “mother” Convention already requires that Parties shall “… act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry”.
The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products is the only effective way to combatting illicit tobacco trade at global level as it provides specific guidance and solutions, as well as it imposes new obligations for its Parties to address this matter. Therefore, efforts should be multiplied to ensure that the Protocol enters into force as soon as possible.