18 Dec 2008
2008 was a very busy and productive year for the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control process and the FCA.
The FCA would like to congratulate the ten countries that joined the FCTC in 2008: Iraq, Nicaragua, Colombia, Zambia, the Russian Federation, Italy, Croatia, Costa Rica, Guinea-Bissau and Surinam, which brought the total number of Parties to the FCTC to 162, made it one of the most rapidly embraced UN Treaties, and so, joined the fight to stem the tide of the death and disease from tobacco use.
Also, much was accomplished this year to make the FCTC a stronger treaty. Positive work took place in the development of a Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products and the 3rd Conference of the Parties to the FCTC (COP-3), in Durban in November, adopted very strong guidelines on Articles 5.3 (protection of public health policy with respect to tobacco control from the commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry), 11 (packaging and labelling) and 13 (advertising, promotion and sponsorship).
In the area of policy-making and standard-setting work the outcomes of 2008 were excellent. But much remains to be done in 2009 to strengthen the FCTC process, protect public health and save lives. The FCTC continues to provide the world with a unique tool to combat the tobacco epidemic worldwide and the membership of the FCA will remain vigilant as the Treaty evolves at a very rapid pace in 2009.
The 3rd COP decided to continue the work on the illicit trade protocol as a priority and the next Intergovernmental Negotiating Body for the Illicit Trade Protocol will be held in Geneva from 28 June through July, 5 2009. Work will also be done between now and the 4th COP in 2010 on Articles 6 (price and tax measures), 9 and 10 (product regulation and disclosure), 12 (education, communication, training and public awareness), 14 (demand reduction measures concerning tobacco dependence and cessation), 17 and 18 (support for economically viable alternatives and protection of the environment) and 19 (liability).
Finally, we would like to thank all of you for all of your hard work at both the national and international levels to make 2008 a successful year. It has been a genuinely global team effort. You have made history this year and your initiatives will save countless lives in the future. Well done FCAers! We look forward to another productive and successful year in 2009. Happy New Year, Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo !