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World Health Organization releases draft tobacco treaty text ahead of October negotiations

The World Health Organization (WHO) today released the draft of a treaty text which will provide the basis for the final stage of the negotiations of a Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The text was put together by Ambassador Luiz Felipe de Seixas Correa, Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on the FCTC. When adopted, the FCTC will be a historic step in global tobacco control.

The Chair's new FCTC text, which represents the first complete draft of the treaty to emerge during the negotiation process, details points of potential agreement on such key issues as tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, illicit trade in tobacco products, taxes, international cooperation in areas such as agricultural diversification and financial resources. These points will be considered by the World Health Organization?s Member States meeting in Geneva from 14-25 October 2002. This is expected to be the penultimate negotiating session before proposed adoption of the FCTC by the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May 2003.

"In my view, the text is a basket of best options for nations seeking to curb the tobacco epidemic. As in any negotiations, there is a process of give and take and it is my firm belief that this text will meet the target date of May 2003 for adoption," said Ambassador Luiz Felipe de Seixas Correa, Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on the FCTC.

At the last negotiating session in March 2002, the Brazilian diplomat was asked by WHO Member States to present them a complete text which would reflect the significant progress made during the first four rounds of negotiation, for their meeting in October.

The Chair's new text is based on the many proposals put forward to date, and is now expected to serve as the basis for full-fledged negotiations between countries.

This is WHO's first exercise at treaty-making and the process is bearing fruit. In addition to the health sector, ministries of finance, trade and foreign affairs, to name a few, have been engaged in the process in what diplomats say is a truly multisectoral approach to health. Tobacco kills 4.2 million people annually, and is forecast to kill over ten million people per year by the late 2020s if robust steps to curb the epidemic are not taken immediately. Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, WHO?s Director-General, has made tobacco control one of WHO's priorities and countries around the world have joined that call for concerted and comprehensive action.

The FCTC is expected to be adopted during the next meeting of the WHA in May 2003.

For further information on the Chair's text, please contact the Chair's Spokesperson, Minister Counsellor Frederico S. Duque Estrada Meyer at the Brazilian Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Geneva: Tel.: (+41 22) 929 0903 or (+41 79) 321 4266.

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For more information contact:

Reshma Prakash
Telephone: (+41 22) 791 3443
Fax: (+41 22) 791 4832
E-mail: prakashr@who.int

Ms Helen Green
Telephone: +41 (22) 791 3432
Mobile phone: +41 (79) 475 5572
Fax: +41 (22) 791 4832
E-mail: greenh@who.int