Knowledge Hubs and tobacco industry monitoring centres (observatories)

The Convention Secretariat is establishing, as part of its overall knowledge management activities and as a response to various decisions of the Conference of the Parties, collaboration with several institutions that could assist Parties in their work in a number of important technical areas of the Convention. The established entities are also expected to assist the Secretariat in fulfilling the mandate given by the Conference of the Parties.

These entities fall into two categories:

  • the WHO FCTC Secretariat’s Knowledge Hubs, that focus their work on technical aspects of specific articles of the Convention, and specifically, on assisting Parties in the implementation of these articles of the Convention; and
  • the WHO FCTC Secretariat’s Tobacco Industry Monitoring Centres (Observatories), that constitute a global network focused on monitoring, identifying, documenting and preventing tobacco industry interference with implementation of the WHO FCTC, and specifically, on assisting Parties in their implementation of Article 5.3 of the Convention.

Both the Knowledge Hubs and Observatories are global in scope, and their work will go beyond the boundaries of the hosting countries, sub-regions and regions.

Knowledge Hubs

The Convention Secretariat has established seven Knowledge Hubs so far (In the six WHO regions). Their task is to analyse, synthesize and disseminate to the Parties to the Convention knowledge and information on matters under their expertise in relation to the Convention, in accordance with Article 22 (Cooperation in the scientific, technical, and legal fields and provision of related expertise). New Knowledge Hubs may be established by the Convention Secretariat after guidance from the Conference of the Parties (COP), the governing body of the WHO FCTC.

The first Knowledge Hub became operational in Australia in 2014. The list of current Knowledge Hubs is given in the table below.


The hubs are in the process of building their individual web pages. These will be accessible through a centralized platform provided by the Convention Secretariat. Click here to visit the website

Parties that wish to receive assistance from the Knowledge Hubs in the respective areas of work should contact the Convention Secretariat at fctcsecretariat@who.int. The Secretariat will then coordinate with the relevant Knowledge Hub, and other partners if appropriate, to arrange for the required assistance to the Party.

Tobacco Industry Monitoring Centres (Observatories)

The establishment of the Observatories aims to assist Parties’ implementation of Article 5.3 of the Convention. It addresses the lack of discerning understanding of current and future approaches utilized by the tobacco industry and the way it attempts to or interferes with public health policy development. The observatories will also inform policy makers and governments with a view to prevent such interference.

Observatories will be established in the six WHO regions and in sub-regions were appropriate. As a project originally initiated under the BRICS framework, the first centre was launched and is hosted by Fundação Oswaldo Cruz in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The project has since moved beyond the BRICS framework, with ongoing work in Sri Lanka to establish an observatory.

Observatories are then expected to form a global information network that will provide Parties from any WHO region with the information required to implement article 5.3 of the Convention.

The websites of the Observatories will be available later.


The WHO FCTC Knowledge Hubs and Observatories have been established with financial support from the European Commission.
(Knowledge Hub's grant agreement DCI_SANTE/2011/261_053), (Observatories' grant agreement DCI_SANTE/2011/261_053)



The Observatories have been supported through extra budgetary contributions received from the Governments of Brazil, Panama and Russian Federation, Parties to the WHO FCTC. The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (the Union), an observer to COP, also provided direct financial assistance for the establishment of the Observatories.