People have died from tobacco-related diseases since the opening of the first FCTC working group on 28 October 1999.
"Civil society's shadow reports have an unequivocal value in holding governments accountable to their FCTC obligations," said Dr. Souley Ly, President of Afrique Contre le Tabac (ACONTA), a tobacco control non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Burkina Faso.
Dr Souley represented his country at the shadow report training that took place 7-8 March 2013 in Dakar, Senegal. The training was organised and run by the Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) in collaboration with la League Senegalaise Contre le Tabac (LISTAB) and with financial support from the Africa Tobacco Control Consortium (ATCC).
Over the two days, participants came to understand the 'raison d'être' of shadow reporting of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), including its data collection methodology.
Massaba Diouf, a member of LISTAB – a coalition of tobacco control civil society organisations in Senegal – said the walking tour exercise (to collect data on the implementation of FCTC Article 13 concerning tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship) in Dakar was "extremely remarkable".
"We would not have understood the data collection methodology on outdoor marketing, point-of-sale-marketing and print media marketing without the practical exercise conducted in the city of Dakar," said Diouf.
"This report will undoubtedly serve as an advocacy tool to draw the Senegalese Government's attention to the gross violations of Article 13 in the country. Though audio-visual tobacco advertising is forbidden, the tobacco industry uses the print media and vendors to promote their products as seen during the walking tour."
While all countries will focus on monitoring implementation of article 5.3 of the FCTC (concerning tobacco industry interference), each participant is required to analyse their country situation before deciding which other FCTC articles to monitor.
"Since smoking in public places is a huge problem in Mauritania, we will focus on monitoring Article 8 (smoke-free public spaces) in addition to Articles 5.3 and 6 (on tax and price measures)," said Dr Nacer Dine Mohamed Baba, President of the Association Mauritanienne de Lutte Contre le Cancer (AMALCANCER), a Mauritanian organisation working on cancer and tobacco control-related issues.
Producing the report is good but "we will put more energy and resources into disseminating our findings to media and government institutions in order to maximise its impact", he added.
Since 2010, NGOs in 15 AFRO countries have produced shadow reports. The focus this year will be on Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Mauritania and Senegal.
Read more in FCA's Shadow Reporting campaign.