18 Sep 2015
The situation is similar when it comes to implementing the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Limited funding and lack of international support to fight the tobacco epidemic are key obstacles to translating governments’ treaty obligations into action at country level.
Both WHO and the FCTC have established working groups dedicated to exploring solutions. For three years, FCTC’s Working Group on Sustainable Measures to Strengthen Implementation of the Convention has been tasked with looking into obstacles to mobilising assistance and resources for FCTC implementation, and to propose measures to overcome them. More than 20 of the Working Group’s recommendations were endorsed by all Parties to the FCTC in October 2014, and it will continue its work throughout 2015 and 2016.
WHO working group
WHO established a Working Group on Financing for NCDs in early 2015 and recently released its interim report. That group’s task is to advise the WHO Director-General on options to support countries in exploring the provision of adequate, predictable and sustained resources for NCDs. The Working Group will meet on 23-24 September 2015 to further discuss its five overarching recommendations.
Ahead of the meeting, FCA encouraged the WHO Working Group to look into findings and recommendations of the FCTC Working Group. For example, FCTC Parties have agreed that to make it easier to prioritise tobacco control in development plans, WHO and other international partners should assist countries to develop economic arguments for tobacco control.
Regarding tobacco taxation, which is recognized as an effective way to generate new revenue and yield improved health outcomes, we suggested that the WHO Working Group promote full use of agreed principles on tobacco taxation, which are contained in FCTC guidelines on implementation of Article 6.
Finally, we alerted the WHO Working Group to ongoing tobacco industry interference, even at the level of budgeting for tobacco control.
* NCDs cause nearly 2/3 of global deaths. Tobacco use is the one risk factor common to four major NCDs: cancers, cardiovascular and lung disease, and diabetes.