FCA calls for UN action

16 Apr 2010

To further global tobacco control the Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) is calling on its members to urge their governments to support a special UN session (UNGASS) on non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Read on to find out how.

An UNGASS is when the United Nations (UN) passes a resolution to hold a Special Session of the General Assembly on a particular issue – in this case NCDs. Special Sessions often lead to more funding for the issue being discussed.

The call is part of the FCA’s campaign for sustainable funding for Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) implementation. Through the campaign, the FCA wants to see tobacco control gain access to new, larger and more sustainable streams of funding as soon as possible.

The success of this campaign relies on aid agencies in donor countries and governments of low-income countries prioritizing tobacco control when they draw up national plans and requests for development assistance.

Unfortunately, governments do not always treat tobacco control as a stand-alone issue because they tend to group tobacco control with programs about drug and alcohol, healthy lifestyle or chronic disease prevention. 

Since the World Health Assembly adopted its Global Strategy on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) in 2000, followed by the adoption of the 2008-2013 Action Plan on NCDs, aid agencies have begun placing tobacco control alongside diet, physical activity and alcohol in their programming.

First Global Forum of NCDNet

On 24 February 2010 the first Global Forum of NCDnet took place in Geneva, Switzerland at WHO head quarters.  This meeting united government and non-government agencies involved in the prevention and control of NCDs.  Download the FCA’s brochure, which was available during the meeting [Adobe Acrobat PDF – 775.76 KB].

Meeting delegates recognised tobacco control as an important priority and after the meeting an informal gathering of civil society organisations (including the FCA) met to share campaigning expertise and discuss tobacco control key priorities.

The group agreed the most urgent priority was to encourage the UN to pass a resolution to hold a Special Session of the General Assembly on NCDs in September 2011.

A Special Session (UNGASS) is very important because it can draw world attention to a pressing problem plus get more resources committed to tackling it.  For example in 2001 an UNGASS on HIV/AIDS led to a Declaration of Commitment and eventually to the creation of a Global Fund for HIV/AIDS. An UNGASS has only been held 28 times since 1947. 

The Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM) has drafted a resolution calling for an UNGASS and is seeking the support of as many member states as possible.

Take action for your country

The FCA is calling on all members to urge their governments to support the CARICOM resolution and to share any responses they get with the alliance. 

Please download our template letter (English [Adobe Acrobat PDF – 359.79 KB] / French [Adobe Acrobat PDF – 91.25 KB] ) for your Head of State or Government, which will also provide you with more information. Please send your letter by 23 April, since a vote on the matter is expected by the end of the month.

This call to action is also going out to other cancer, diabetes, heart and lung disease non-government organization (NGO) so it would be beneficial for FCA members to link up those agencies in their country.  The FCA can provide these contact details if needed. 


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