WHO presents draft text ahead of final round of Negotiations on the Tobacco Convention
Geneva, 15 January 2003 - The Brazilian Ambassador Luis Felipe de Seixas Corrêa, chair of the Inter-governmental Negotiating Body (INB) of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), today made public his proposed text for the global treaty.
When in effect, the Framework Convention will be an important tool in the fight against cancers, heart disease and emphysema and for health promotion efforts globally.
The chair's revised text will be the basis for the sixth and ultimate session of the INB which will take place in Geneva from 17 -28 February. Over those eleven days, delegations from WHO's 192 Member States will negotiate a final text which will be submitted for adoption by the World Health Assembly in May.
" We have made excellent progress thus far and I am confident we will be able to move the process ahead to prepare the convention for adoption by the next Assembly," said Ambassador Luis Felipe de Seixas Corrêa. "We must move beyond country, subregional and regional perspectives and work for the collective interest. The text I am proposing today is an attempt to take into account the views and suggestions expressed during the last round of negotiations. But primarily, the aim of this text is to ensure that we end up with a treaty which is an effective tool for improving public health."
The fifth round of negotiations took place in October last year. Substantial progress was made then towards agreement on such key issues as tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, illicit trade in tobacco products, taxes, international co-operation and financial resources.
The new proposed text is drawing on the discussions with countries since October to suggest wording which as many countries as possible can agree on to ensure that the treaty becomes global in reach and effective in its task to strengthen national and international tobacco control.
The FCTC is the first international health treaty under WHO’s auspices. It forms a key aspect in a global strategy to reduce the world-wide epidemic of tobacco. Last year, tobacco killed 4.9 million people, up sharply from estimates only two years ago, as the true toll of tobacco in developing countries is becoming known. If action is not taken, annual tobacco-related deaths will reach 10 million by the late 2020s. More than 70% of these will be in developing countries.
The work towards a treaty has already strengthened tobacco control efforts in countries. In addition to the health sector, ministries of finance, trade and foreign affairs, to name a few, have been engaged in the process of what diplomats say is a truly multisectoral approach to health. "With this new text, we have a solid basis for a treaty that, when adopted, will protect public health," said Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, WHO Director-General. "I am confident we can craft a convention which both has muscle and that can be accepted by all."
The Framework Convention aims to create a global regulatory system that, when in force, will stimulate, organize and supplement national policies, as well as being in itself a multilateral regime to control the tobacco pandemic. Once the convention has been adopted by the World Health Assembly, further discussions will be opened to add more detailed protocols on specific issues.
The text will be available on line at this address: www.who.int/tobacco