15 Apr 2016
That was the theme of the presentation I gave earlier this month at the conference organised by the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP). On behalf of FCA I discussed advocacy for a more effective and robust WHO FCTC Implementation Review Mechanism (IRM) that will be discussed at the seventh session of the FCTC Conference of the Parties (COP7), to be held in New Delhi in November. An expert group established by COP5 is preparing a report with recommendations on a future IRM.
Civil society protest in Georgia
At the conference, civil society participants were also given an opportunity to share experiences and challenges in their respective countries. An interesting and special case was Georgia, where a British American Tobacco (BAT) representative was chosen to represent the country at the meeting in Geneva later this month of the Working Group on Sustainable Implementation of the WHO FCTC.
Georgian civil society alerted the FCTC Secretariat that the invited Georgian delegate was a BAT-man, and the FCTC Secretariat recanted the invitation. This is a success story of civil society fully playing its watchdog role, and there have been many more over the years. As COP7 approaches we will have to be vigilant for further attempts by the tobacco industry to influence delegations and proceedings behind the scenes.