ILO Ends Contracts With Tobacco Companies – Will It Be Forever?

08 Nov 2018

Ottawa, November 8, 2018 – The International Labour Organization (ILO) no longer relies on funding from tobacco companies and affiliated organisations, for the time being.

In its Decision concerning contracts that had tied the ILO to an industry whose products kill more than 7 million people each year, the Governing Body of the ILO adopted an integrated strategy to address decent work deficits in the tobacco sector.

The Governing Body has directed the ILO Director General “to continue efforts to mobilize various sustainable sources of funding from the public and private sector with appropriate safeguards.”

The Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) is confident that the ILO will apply appropriate safeguards to its future resource mobilisation efforts to ensure that it no longer accepts funding from the tobacco industry.

The FCA also commends the ILO for its continued dedication to protecting the rights of workers within the tobacco sector and for the commitment it has shown in thoroughly addressing the issue of funding from tobacco companies.

The ILO’s contracts with the Eliminating Child Labor in Tobacco Growing (ECLT) Foundation and with Japan Tobacco International (JTI) expire in June and December 2018, respectively.

Rejecting funding from tobacco companies will allow the ILO to maintain its impartiality and enhance its capacity to address the issues that trap workers in systemic poverty including unfair contracts, collusion by companies over leaf prices, and inflation of the costs of farm inputs.

Other U.N. agencies should take note. The ILO has set an important precedent by taking the issue of tobacco industry funding seriously and addressing it institutionally. It has positioned itself to go further in addressing the root causes of systemic poverty in the tobacco sector, free from the undue influence of tobacco companies, consistent with Article 5.3 of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and the Model Policy for agencies of the United Nations system on preventing tobacco industry interference.

The Governing Body  has also directed the ILO Director General to organise a tripartite meeting as a matter of urgency, to further develop and implement the integrated strategy. This upcoming tripartite meeting presents an opportunity to expand protections for workers within the tobacco sector and completely shut the door on any undue tobacco industry influence.

About Framework Convention Alliance

Framework Convention Alliance works to rid this world from the devastating health, social, economic and environmental consequences of tobacco and tobacco use. With nearly 500 nongovernment member organisations from over 100 countries, the Alliance grew out of civil society’s participation in the work that produced the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005, the first modern-day public health treaty. We are a leading advocate for including the FCTC and tobacco control in the international health and development framework, including the Sustainable Development Goals. The Alliance is an influential voice for civil society at the FCTC Conference of the Parties.

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