People have died from tobacco-related diseases since the opening of the first FCTC working group on 28 October 1999.
- February 9, 2012
At the Fourth session of the Conference of Parties (COP4) in 2010, a little-noticed decision was adopted: “Harmonisation of travel support available to Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in line with current World Health Organization administrative policies for travel support”.
This decision, while sounding harmless, will have a devastating impact on participation at FCTC-related events.
It effectively eliminates or decreases long-established travel support for low-resourced Parties to participate in FCTC-related meetings: working groups (WGs), the Intergovernmental Negotiation Body (INB) and the Conferences of the Parties (COPs).
From 2000 through COP4, all Parties classified as low and lower-middle income were entitled to travel support to attend FCTC negotiations.
One delegate from each low and lower-middle income Party could receive financial support for airfare, hotel and per-diem. It is worth noting that this travel support policy was adopted as a direct result of very low participation of low-resourced countries in the initial discussions on the FCTC in 1999.
Devastating impact of COP4 travel policy
As a result of the travel policy adopted at COP4, travel support will be significantly reduced between COP4 and COP5, and nearly eliminated after COP5.
For Parties classified as low and lower-middle income (World Bank classification), but NOT as Least Developed Countries (UN classification), the travel support was reduced to cover an air ticket only – no accommodation or per-diem support – until COP5. Unless a decision is taken at COP5, this remaining support will be discontinued after November 2012.
For countries classified as Least Developed Countries (LDCs), the original travel support will stay in place until COP5, but, unless a decision is taken at this meeting, will be scaled down to cover only an air ticket after November 2012.
COP4 changes in travel support may lead to underrepresentation of low-resourced Parties in the FCTC process. FCA members are encouraged to contact their governments and advocate for a decision at COP5 that will reverse the COP4 decision and fully restore travel support to pre-COP4 levels.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Yvona Tous.