People have died from tobacco-related diseases since the opening of the first FCTC working group on 28 October 1999.
- September 4, 2014
By Eduardo Bianco
FCA Director, Americas
Uruguay’s FCTC knowledge hub is a potential “gold mine” for development of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Global tobacco control will profit greatly if government, civil society and international and regional experts are able to cooperate closely, and the Government of Uruguay can provide leadership and political commitment.
The Knowledge Hub hosted its first cooperation meeting in August, in the city of Colonia del Sacramento. Representatives from 14 Latin American countries* attended, from both government and civil society, including myself representing FCA.
Meet as equals
The meeting marked a milestone in the fight against the tobacco epidemic, said Martin Rivero, Executive Director of the Uruguayan Cooperation Agency (AUCI), in his opening speech. He described the Hub as a place where the region’s countries would meet on an equal footing to share their experiences and promote tobacco control.
Silvina Echarte, Director of Uruguay’s Ministry of Health, noted that the Hub (known by its Spanish acronym CCICT) “is an instrument that we must use to exchange information and experiences, and facilitate South- South and triangular cooperation”.
Illicit trade also
The meeting discussed cooperation on the following topics: smoking cessation, advertising bans and illicit tobacco trade, including ratification and implementation of the illicit trade protocol. International experts Robert West, Martin Raw and Geoffrey Fong provided input on various topics.
A strong sense of cooperation pervaded the intensive 1 ½ day meeting, from which many commitments emerged. It will now be up to the CCICT to monitor and facilitate progress on achieving those objectives.
We also look forward to learning from the experiences of the two other FCTC Knowledge Hubs, based in Australia and Finland.
* Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico and Dominican Republic
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