People have died from tobacco-related diseases since the opening of the first FCTC working group on 28 October 1999.
“Tobacco use alone costs the world 1-2 percent of its GDP each year,” Helen Clark, administrator of the United Nations Development Program told the UN’s NCD Review on 11 July. We are happy to report that UN Member States took that message to heart, and renewed their commitment to accelerate implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (see the outcome document).
Many States at the Review mentioned the importance of the FCTC, tobacco control, and tobacco taxation in their statements*. Many also called for strong support for work fighting non-communicable diseases at the country level, including capacity building and more national and international resources.
One of the key commitments in the outcomes document is that countries should set up national targets on NCDs, such as the target to reduce tobacco use prevalence by 30 percent. Tobacco taxes can play a large role in attaining such targets, and should be in place at the country level by 2015, added the document.
Civil society's role
Countries also promised to mobilise and allocate financial and human resources for national policies and action plans on NCDs (see para 30a, i, and x of the outcome document). It is now civil society’s responsibility to hold governments accountable for these commitments.
Unfortunately, few government ministers attended the Review. This suggests that much work remains to be done to get all high level officials, not just health officials, to prioritise tobacco control, NCDs and the FCTC in global and national development plans. Here too, civil society can play an important role.
The tobacco control community must now also focus on the negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which will replace the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. FCA’s goal is to ensure that tobacco control and NCDs are adequately addressed in the SDGs’ targets and indicators that will be negotiated in coming months.
Our message to governments and to their UN missions in New York is: tobacco control must be included in the SDGs. Please deliver that message, and feel free to contact us for assistance.
* Including Costa Rica, USA, Mexico, Jamaica, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, CARICOM, Colombia, Australia and Spain.
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