The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

FCTC: Action Now! Campaign

NCDs Mechanism needs to reflect the WHO FCTC: spread the word!

You might recall the positive outcomes of the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May regarding non-communicable diseases* (NCDs). At that time, countries approved ambitious targets, such as cutting tobacco use by 30 percent by 2025. They also adopted a clear road map to do so – the NCD Global Action Plan, which calls for accelerated implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

At that point many tobacco control advocates certainly hoped to see more action (and resources!) devoted to the control and prevention of NCDs, for which tobacco use is a key risk factor. While resources might not yet be forthcoming, there will be a wave of NCD consultations in coming months and you can help ensure that they hear the tobacco control message.

One of the topics of the consultations will be the NCD Global Coordination Mechanism, which is meant to pull together the efforts of countries, WHO and other partners – such as the UN system, business and NGOs – to achieve the objectives of the NCD Global Action Plan. WHO has already issued a discussion paper on the purpose and scope of the Mechanism.

FCA has been arguing that the Mechanism must exclude the tobacco industry and should build on the already existing forum for coordination of global tobacco control – the WHO FCTC. While the tobacco industry has been excluded from the list of potential stakeholders, the FCTC is not even acknowledged in the WHO discussion paper.

Please help amplify our voice by sending the WHO discussion paper to your colleagues and government officials, pointing out that the Mechanism is incomplete without recognition of the WHO FCTC. Tell them that it is on the agenda for the following events. FCA will attend as many of these as possible:

• 14 August 2013 – Informal dialogue on the Global Coordination Mechanism (GCM) with relevant NGOs in Geneva;
• 15 August – Informal dialogue with selected private sector entities in Geneva;
• 30 October – Deadline for written comments on WHO's 1st GCM discussion paper;
• 31 October – WHO releases a 2nd version of the GCM discussion paper;
• 10 November – tentative deadline for written comments on 2nd GCM discussion paper;
• 11-12 November – Formal consultations with Member States in Geneva to complete the GCM terms of reference.

WHO is also encouraging Member States to discuss the Global Coordination Mechanism at upcoming Regional Committee Meetings. For the dates in each WHO region, see the timeline.

And there's more! Member States will gather in Geneva for two additional consultations on NCDs. In October, they will review process indicators for the NCD Global Action Plan and in November they should agree on terms of references for a newly established UN inter-agency task force on NCDs. FCA plans to keep an eye particularly on the latter meeting.

The UN task force on NCDs was established in July 2013 by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) by expanding the mandate of the UN task force on tobacco control (in place since 1999). Tobacco control and implementation of the FCTC should remain crucial to the mandate of the newly established task force. That was the reassurance given in July, but will only be confirmed when explicit terms of reference are adopted in November.

For more information, see FCA's campaign: FCTC: Action Now!

*NCDs kill 36 million people a year, a growing number of them in low and middle-income countries. FCTC implementation is crucial to stemming these deaths because tobacco use is the main risk factor for the four main groups of NCDs: cardiovascular diseases, cancers, respiratory diseases and diabetes.

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