If not now, then never

09 Nov 2016

The FCTC is one of only three Conventions explicitly referenced in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. Furthermore, tobacco control and the FCTC are also explicitly mentioned in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, in the sections on mobilising domestic and international public resources.

Day 3 of COP7 is the time when Parties must seriously discuss how to take advantage of these 2015 achievements. Committee B will start with an agenda item that is ideal for this purpose: the Convention Secretariat will present its report on fundraising efforts and collaborative work (FCTC/ COP/7/26). The Secretariat is rightly concerned about mobilising around US$9 million for its own budget to deliver the workplan for the next two years. But it would be a mistake to spend Wednesday morning talking only about the FCTC budget.

It would be an even bigger mistake if a proposed Financing Dialogue organised within several months after COP7 does not spotlight Parties’ implementation needs, and how to address them. Therefore, what we need on Wednesday is a healthy discussion on how to promote the investment case for FCTC implementation at country level through the Financing Dialogue. The fact that the FCTC is cited in the SDGs won’t bring new donors rushing to the Secretariat, or to tobacco control focal points, to offer support. The SDGs include 168 global targets on a wide range of development issues so tobacco control is facing tough competition for development funding.

So how can we get the donors’ attention focused on the FCTC target as a means to achieve the health goal (SDG3)? First, it will be important to communicate what exactly is needed to advance tobacco control, in language that development partners can easily understand. In order to generate this information, we need the Secretariat to map implementation needs in a systematic way immediately after COP7, in advance of the proposed Financing Dialogue.

All these tasks are actually proposed in a COP7 report – but in a completely different one (FCTC/COP/7/18) which is not going to be discussed in Committee B. To initiate action or resource mobilisation for FCTC implementation, delegates in Committee B will need to closely coordinate with their colleagues in Committee A. There is hardly a better reason to do so


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