25 May 2018
The Seventy-first World Health Assembly took place last week in Geneva, Switzerland. Delegates attending the event included Ministers of Health from World Health Organization (WHO) Member States and representatives from many organizations working to help countries around the world meet the health-related targets in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) attended this important global health event to encourage linkages between tobacco control measures and broader public health efforts, for example by enhancing policy coherence among governments to prevent and control noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).
FCA consulted with the WHO FCTC Secretariat as part of preparations for the Eighth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP8) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The first session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (MOP1) will be convened right after COP8, if a total of 40 countries deposit instruments of ratification for the Protocol before the July 2, 2018 deadline.
COP8 will chart the future of tobacco control by bringing together the 181 Parties (representing 90 % of the global population) who ratified the WHO FCTC, States that are not Parties to the Convention, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations.
FCA also discussed a number of priorities, recommendations and the role of civil society in the UN High-level Meeting process during a Civil Society Working Group on NCDs meeting initiated by the WHO to share best practices in preparation for the Third United Nations High-level Meeting on NCDs, which presents an opportunity for countries to show political commitment and galvanize support in the fight against NCDs.
The latest data available in the World Health Statistics 2018 shows that an estimated 41 million deaths occurred due to NCDs, with the majority of such deaths caused by cardiovascular disease (17.9 million), cancer (9 million), chronic respiratory disease (3.8 million) and diabetes (1.6 million) in 2016.
Tobacco use, with its devastating social, environmental and economic impacts, is a major risk factor linked to the development of NCDs. Reducing tobacco use by implementing the FCTC’s measures for population-level prevention can help lower premature NCD mortality and achieve the health targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Politically-challenging environments notwithstanding, Parties to the WHO FCTC have made remarkable strides in reducing the use of all types of tobacco products around the world.
A lot more can be done to address tobacco use as an NCD risk factor by strengthening the implementation of key WHO FCTC-compliant measures (e.g., tax policies; smoke-free legislation; packaging and labeling provisions; among others.
About the Author
Mafoya Dossoumon is the Communications Manager for Framework Convention Alliance.