The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

States stress 2012 deadline for NCDs targets

At the United Nations High-level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases (‘NCD Summit’) last September world leaders agreed to develop targets for tackling NCDs, as well as a monitoring framework, by the end of 2012. To meet this deadline, it was expected that proposals would have to be agreed at the 65th meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May 2012.

However, a resolution (EB130/R70) made at the 130th meeting of the WHO Executive Board (Geneva, 16-23 January) appears to postpone final agreement till the 66th WHA in May 2013.

Even so, Member States supporting the resolution stress it is critical that WHO meets the commitment in the Summit’s Political Declaration to reach agreement on the proposals by the end of 2012.

At an 8 January informal dialogue, Member States voiced frustrations that there was insufficient time for review of the proposals included in the WHO Discussion document. Further details of the consultation process, which now specifically requires regional consultations, will be posted shortly at the above link.

The WHO discussion document contains proposals for ten targets that meet five proposed criteria. Under exposure targets, the document proposes “40% relative reduction in prevalence of current tobacco smoking”, with an indicator specified: “Age standardised prevalence or current tobacco smoking among persons aged 15+ years”, and the identified data source being “national survey”. 

While FCA is generally in agreement with the idea of a prevalence target, FCA’s concern is to have a time frame that is short enough to trigger real action on tobacco control, but not so short that it has already lapsed by the time people start implementation. A global target on tobacco prevalence would need to be broken down into regional (and possibly sub-regional and national targets) to take into account differences in circumstances. 

Most importantly, FCA stresses that NCD-centric targets and indicators must complement rather than duplicate what happens within the process of the Conference of the Parties of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

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