Western Pacific Regional meeting on implementation of the WHO FCTC

Twenty-three Parties from the WHO Western Pacific Region met from 28 to 30 April 2014 in Nadi, Fiji, to discuss implementation of the WHO FCTC in the Region. The meeting was organized by the Convention Secretariat, in cooperation with the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific and the WHO South Pacific Office. The meeting was generously hosted by the Ministry of Health of Fiji. Three intergovernmental organizations – the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the World Bank (both via video conference), and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community – and three nongovernmental organizations – the Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control, the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance and the World Lung Foundation – participated and contributed as observers.

His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, President of the Republic of Fiji, opened the meeting. In his address, he emphasized the importance of full implementation of the WHO FCTC and shared Fiji’s notable achievements in tobacco control. He also called upon fellow Pacific island countries to scale up efforts in tobacco control legislation and enforcement and to reach the goal of achieving a tobacco-free Pacific by 2025.

After the opening ceremony, President Nailatikau inaugurated Nadi Town as smoke-free, together with the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Neil Sharma, and Dr Haik Nikogosian, Head of the Convention Secretariat.

Participants shared their experiences in implementation of the WHO FCTC and major developments related to the Convention in the Region and globally, including the challenges faced, and discussed mutual cooperation and the role and possible contributions of international partners in assisting Parties to strengthen implementation of the Convention. Experiences of the needs assessments undertaken in eight Pacific island countries were presented and reviewed as one of the themes of regional importance. A regional overview of smoke-free legislation and policies (Article 8 of the Convention and the guidelines for its implementation) was also presented and discussed. The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products was also on the agenda of the meeting, with a view to further promoting its ratification/accession and entry into force.

The meeting was convened in line with the workplan adopted by the Conference of the Parties and was financially supported under the European Union grant to promote implementation of the Convention and the extrabudgetary contribution from the Australian Government to promote the participation of the Pacific island country Parties.

The outcome document agreed by participants highlights the main achievements, challenges and way forward for implementation of the Convention in the Region.

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