Convention and Protocol highlighted at ministerial events

Two ministerial events focusing on the WHO FCTC were organized during the recent International Conference on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Africa (1–3 August 2013, Johannesburg, South Africa), and the sixty-third session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe (Çeşme Izmir, Turkey, 16–19 September 2013). Dr Haik Nikogosian, Head of the Convention Secretariat, was invited in both cases to address audiences comprised of ministers and chief delegates on progress made in implementation of the WHO FCTC. Special emphasis was given to the objectives, main content and process for entry into force of the recently adopted Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.

Though the meetings were not WHO FCTC-specific, they provided excellent opportunities to profile the WHO FCTC and the Protocol among high-level political audiences at this important juncture: when the Convention is nearing 10 years since entry into force and the Protocol is in the process of signature and ratification.

In addition to these ministerial events, in July the WHO FCTC was showcased during the Informal European Union Council of Health Ministers, held in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 8–9 July 2013, in the context of the Lithuanian presidency of the European Union. Youth smoking prevention, with a particular focus on the WHO FCTC formed one of the three topics on the agenda, and Dr Nikogosian was invited to address the Council.

Raising awareness at high political level will continue to be an important element of promoting the work of the Convention and the Protocol.