Tobacco industry interference at the heart of the ILO Governing Body meeting

Geneva, Switzerland
27 October 2017

330th Session of ILO Governing Body Meeting
Photo © Crozet / ILO

The International Labour Organization (ILO) Governing Body is meeting in Geneva from 26 October to 9 November to discuss its cooperation with the tobacco industry in the pursuit of the Organization’s social mandate (GB.331/POL/5).

The mandate refers to the work of ILO with the tobacco sector and its public-private partnership with the tobacco industry. It is part of internal consultations following the draft model policy adopted by the UN Interagency Task Force (UNIATF) on Prevention and Control of NCDs last September to permanently ban tobacco industry participation and interference among UN agencies.

The decision to exclude tobacco companies from UN agencies was taken after the Convention Secretariat, and WHO, promoted the provisions of the Convention and the recommendations of the respective guidelines with the UNIATF on many occasions. In fact, the Guidelines for implementation of Article 5.3 recommend that Parties to the Convention should not endorse, support, form partnerships with or participate in activities of the tobacco industry described as socially responsible.

The Convention Secretariat and nearly 200 public health organizations and labour rights groups worldwide are encouraging ILO to follow the model policy and definitely sever ties with the tobacco industry. The decision could close one of the tobacco industry’s last-remaining avenues of influence inside UN agencies and further reduce tobacco interference.

The agenda for the ILO Governing Body meeting was first presented to the 329th Governing Body meeting in March 2017. However, it was decided to defer consideration until the next session requesting the Director-General to provide additional information.