People have died from tobacco-related diseases since the opening of the first FCTC working group on 28 October 1999.
- December 8, 2015
By Dr. Ulysses Dorotheo, Chair, FCA Board of Directors
2015 was a landmark year in our common fight to end the global tobacco epidemic. Not only has it been 15 years since formal negotiations began for the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and 10 years since the treaty entered into force, but this year also saw the United Nations adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Agenda provides clear recognition by UN Member States that tackling the root causes of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is essential to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
The 2030 Agenda explicitly identifies strengthened implementation of the FCTC as a key means to achieve the health goal. Underpinning the 2030 Agenda is the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development, agreed by all UN Member States. It also commits to strengthened implementation of the FCTC and specifically mentions tobacco taxation as a highly cost effective strategy to reduce tobacco use and a potential source of funding for development.
These global milestones were achieved with proactive interventions of FCA members and staff in close partnership with the NCD Alliance, a testament to the power of collaborative teamwork that is the essence of our alliance.
This year, many dedicated FCA members also realised plain packaging laws in Ireland, the UK and France that will come into force in May 2016, 90 percent-sized pictorial health warnings in Nepal, the tobacco carve-out in the Investor-State Dispute Settlement chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, and various other successes, big and small, that continue to reduce tobacco use and denormalize the tobacco industry.
Let us collectively celebrate one another’s triumphs and, looking forward, continue to support and collaborate with each other for even greater victories and the realisation of the FCA vision: a world free from the devastating health, social, economic and environmental harms of tobacco and tobacco use.
COP7 in 2016
Next year, as we prepare for COP-7 in India, we must seize the opportunity to further accelerate FCTC implementation at the global level to close the implementation gaps at the country level. On this point, I will be sending in the coming weeks another message to our members to provide more detail on a global-level strategy that the Board has been discussing over the past months and that we hope will receive the broad support of all FCA members and partners.
For now, as the year end approaches, I would like to personally recognize the contributions of our outgoing Board members Jo Birckmayer, Lutgard Kagaruki, and Iqbal Masud, and thank them for their committed service to our alliance.
Please join me also in appreciating the selfless service and leadership of Laurent Huber, FCA’s Director for over a decade, who has decided to step down and turn over his responsibilities to Francis Thompson, currently FCA’s Policy Director. Laurent will continue to serve as Director of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH, US), which has already pledged its continuing support to FCA and global tobacco control. Thank you, Laurent, and welcome, Francis.
And for everyone, I pray that God continue to bless us all as we work together toward a tobacco-free world. Happy holidays, and best wishes for the New Year!