People have died from tobacco-related diseases since the opening of the first FCTC working group on 28 October 1999.
By Shana Narula
*Next year, when the WHO FCTC celebrates its 10th anniversary, it looks hopeful that the United Nations will recognise the treaty as the first “means of implementation” for the proposed new global health goal: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
This is the draft text of one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be adopted in 2015. The SDGs cover every aspect of global development, from poverty eradication to the elimination of hunger, and from human rights to climate change.
Assuming FCTC/COP/6/B/Conf. Paper No. 6 passes at this morning’s plenary, COP will have taken an important step to directly position the FCTC at the centre of global sustainable development initiatives to 2030.
The decision mandates the Secretariat to “promote the WHO FCTC, wherever possible, in ongoing discussions on the post-2015 development agenda”. Equally important, is FCTC/COP/6/B/Conf. Paper No. 4, which urges all Parties to “give due consideration to the inclusion of WHO FCTC implementation in the post-2015 development agenda”.
In future global development commitments related to tobacco control, the COP will be recognised as the global governing body.
It is vital that Parties pay careful attention to the detail of the post-2015 draft text and decision-making timeline. While the FCTC is in the draft text, every effort should be made to ensure it stays in the final Outcomes Document. The critical period is between now and September 2015.
This COP has also committed to work directly on the 2025 global target of a 30-percent relative reduction in tobacco use prevalence, which was agreed at the World health Assembly last year as one of the nine targets to prevent and control non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
25 by 2025
The overarching goal to reduce premature mortality from NCDs by 25 percent by 2025 clearly can only be reached by gearing up implementation of the FCTC around the world.
The proposed decision FCTC/COP/6/B/Conf. Paper No. 6 calls on FCTC Parties, by 2015, to “consider setting a voluntary national target for relative reduction of current tobacco use” and to “consider developing or strengthening national multisectoral plans to achieve national targets on reduction of tobacco use by 2025”.
This makes the link between the FCTC and the global NCD framework much clearer — and confirms the COP’s role as the primary global vehicle to advance global tobacco control.
*This article was first published in the FCA Bulletin at COP6.