People have died from tobacco-related diseases since the opening of the first FCTC working group on 28 October 1999.
Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC) Sri Lanka
I was motivated to apply for a sponsorship to attend COP6 after working on the FCA Tax Tools project, which had very good outcomes. Although I have worked in the tobacco control field for more years, I had never attended a COP.
The WHO South-East Asia regional meeting held a few weeks before the COP6 was good preparation for the Moscow event.
My COP6 experience was very positive. I was particularly impressed by the regional meetings held in the morning before plenary, which helped delegates to get familiar with the issues of the day and allowed civil society to make comments.
I spent most of my time in Committee A, as I am more interested in technical matters of tobacco control than administrative ones. But I did visit Committee B also. Attending these meetings made me realise the difficulties of getting consensus on some issues as perspectives often varied from region to region. I was very happy that some recommendations, such as the guidelines on tobacco taxation (Article 6) were adopted, which I thought would be very difficult.
The FCA activity of choosing recipients of the Dirty Ashtray and Orchid award was one of the most interesting experiences. I enjoyed distributing the FCA daily Bulletin.
Apart from the meetings and discussions, it was a great pleasure to meet many new people and reacquaint myself with friends who I had met at earlier tobacco control meetings and consultations. The opportunity I got to exchange ideas and discuss issues with likeminded people was unforgettable.
Overall, I believe that my COP6 experience will be very important to future tobacco control in Sri Lanka. My organisation, ADIC Sri Lanka, is engaged in many aspects of tobacco control, such as advocacy, tax and monitoring tobacco industry interference.