New WHO FCTC Knowledge Hub opens to help Parties counter tobacco industry interference
The Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) launched a new Knowledge Hub to track tobacco industry interference in public policy-making. The new center will be located in Bangkok at the Thammasat University’s School of Global Studies.
The Knowledge Hub was developed as an answer to the tobacco industry interference and will assist WHO FCTC Parties in developing strategies to counter interference through various channels, including trainings and direct assistance.
Speaking in Bangkok to mark the occasion, Dr Tibor Szilagyi, team leader for reporting and knowledge management of the Convention Secretariat, commented on the strong negative impact of tobacco industry interference and how it poses a challenge for effective implementation of the Convention:
“Of course, every element of the Convention is important, but I cannot over-emphasise the centrality of Article 5.3. It represents the shield of the WHO FCTC. It is an indispensable element of good governance in tobacco control. One cannot imagine efficient implementation of any Convention measure without the existence of a firewall built on the strong foundation of Article 5.3 and its guidelines."
The Thai Knowledge Hub joins a worldwide network of six other institutions from Australia, Finland, India, Lebanon, South Africa and Uruguay, mostly based in renowned universities and all working with the Convention Secretariat to assist Parties in specific areas of the Convention.
Dr Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, Head of the Convention Secretariat, praised the development of such centers and expressed consent of Thailand hosting the new Knowledge Hub given its impressive history of confronting the tobacco industry, legislating to protect public health and leading the work in the area of Article 5.3 at the Conference of the Parties.
The Knowledge Hub was formally launched by Dr Szilagyi in the presence of Dr Nuntavarn Vichit-Vadakan, Dean of Thammasat University and Chair of the Advisory Board of the Hub, and Dr Bungon Ritthiphakdee newly appointed director of the Knowledge Hub placed under the Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control (GGTC).