The WHO FCTC Secretariat briefring about the funding of ILO projects by the tobacco industry

The Secretariat of the WHO FCTC (Convention Secretariat) hosted a mission briefing for UN Missions in Geneva. The briefing addressed the concerns of the Convention Secretariat about the funding of ILO projects by the tobacco industry and shared the view of the Secretariat from the perspective of the provisions of the WHO FCTC and its guidelines related to preventing tobacco industry interference.

The Head of the Secretariat, Dr. Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, opened the session with a short explanation on why this funding is not in line with the provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the UN Model Policy on preventing interference from tobacco industry among the UN agencies endorsed by ECOSOC in June 2017.

It was recognized that the ILO consist of Employers, Workers and Governments and that ILO’s interaction with the industry is necessary. However, it should not open doors for the industry in countries to expand their market, work on their influence in countries and thus create a positive image for such a deadly industry.

Dr. da Costa emphasized that the Parties to the Convention should fulfill its obligations under the Treaty including the ILO's Governing Body. She also shared the good experience of the UN Global Compact to delist the current four tobacco industries and no longer admit new ones.

UNDP shared its police and practice on not engaging with tobacco and alcohol industry in its activities as well.

More than 65 Parties were present at the briefing, including Parties to the Convention, States Non-Parties, FAO, WHO and UNDP. Others followed the session through WebEx.

Many of the participants took the floor to express their opinions and debates were held on the mission to find alternative funds for the child labor projects, about how to relate to legal industries that produce harmful products and how the UN Model Policy should be binding for everyone.

In preparation of the 332nd session of the ILO Governing Body taking place in March 2018 the Secretariat, together with WHO have committed to increase efforts to find funds to replace investments from the tobacco industry so ILO anti child labor projects can continue without their influence.

The Secretariat will issue a Note Verbale shortly and will provide delegates with a Questions and Answers document where all aspects around this issue will be explained.