Goodbye 2014, looking ahead to 2015

23 Dec 2014

Let’s remind ourselves that 12 months ago, a number of things were up in the air:

  • We were concerned that the tobacco industry would do everything in its power to derail the adoption by COP6 of strong Art 6 Guidelines (Tax and Price);
  • While the FCTC is clearly mentioned in the NCD Summit political declaration and the World Health Assembly had adopted concrete tobacco targets as part of a monitoring framework it was unclear how these processes could be linked COP;
  • Although a number of tobacco control advocates recognised the importance of including tobacco control and the FCTC in the post-2015 development agenda, the FCTC was not mentioned in any of the earlier drafts of the Sustainable Development Goals that (SDGs) will replace the MDGs.

A year later, we can be happy about how things have developed – and proud of FCA’s successful advocacy:

  • On Article 6, while the industry did try to derail adoption of the guidelines, strong final guidelines were adopted by COP6, and can now immediately be used for tax advocacy at country level;
  • A COP6 decision linked the FCTC COP, the global NCD framework and the post-2015 sustainable development goals, and adopted the goal of reducing tobacco use prevalence by 30 percent by 2025;
  • The FCTC is included in the proposed draft of the SDGs that will replace the MDGs. (See Page 8, 3a- Strengthen implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries as appropriate. Click here.)

There were many other positive developments in 2014, as COP6 adopted other useful decisions and FCA members reported major progress at the national level – more countries are considering plain packaging, pictorial warnings, tax increases, smoke-free spaces, etc.

So what does 2015 have in store for us?

The FCA community will continue to campaign to ensure that the FCTC remains in the final SDGs that will be adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015; we will need to follow up on all COP6 decisions and prepare for COP7; and obviously members will need to continue pushing for accelerated implementation of the FCTC at country level.

The FCTC is in a new phase, moving from a focus on guidelines and protocol development to treaty implementation. In addition, many recent changes in the global health governance environment have had an impact on the FCTC and the FCA as a global alliance.

The next COP will be in India towards the end of 2016 or early 2017. So, like 2013, next year will be a year without a COP, but we hope to see many of you at the World Conference in Abu Dhabi and we will continue to rely on e-mail listservs, webinars and smaller regional meetings to keep in touch.

As always, it is inspiring to work with such a diverse and hard-working group of members.

We wish you all the best in 2015!

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