WHO tobacco treaty
BANGKOK/GENEVA -- More than 140 countries are meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, from Saturday to move forward the global tobacco control agenda during the second session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). The meeting will take place from June 30 to July 6 2007 in the United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok. Outcomes of the meeting will help countries to strengthen their tobacco control programmes and practices, through indoor smoking bans, comprehensive tobacco advertising bans and strict regulation of tobacco products.
The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the governing body of the WHO FCTC, the agency’s first international treaty, which aims to reduce death and disease caused by the global tobacco epidemic. The treaty contains measures that have proven effective in curbing tobacco use and addressing supply issues, such as illicit trade and alternative crops to tobacco.
Examples of the evidence-based measures in the treaty include tobacco tax and price increases, visible pictorial health warnings on tobacco packaging, protection from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke through the establishment of smoke-free environments and comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
Items on the agenda of the meeting include:
Proposals for future protocols to the WHO FCTC on illicit trade in tobacco products and cross-border tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship;
Guidelines for the implementation of smoke-free places and for product regulation;
Next steps regarding the study group on alternative crops to tobacco; and
Other key technical, procedural and financial matters relating to the implementation of the treaty such as funding and financial support for the period 2008-2009; reporting and exchange of information and monitoring and reporting on implementation progress.
Since its entry into force on 27 February 2005, the WHO FCTC has attracted a high number of Parties and has become one of the most widely embraced treaties in the history of the United Nations. Up to146 Parties will participate with voting rights. They represent more than 80% of the world’s population. Other non-party States – including signatories to the treaty – as well as non-governmental organizations in official relations with WHO and intergovernmental organizations, will participate as observers. In all, over 500 delegates are expected to attend.
Dr Douglas Bettcher, Director a.i., Tobacco Free Initiative, WHO and Dr Haik Nikogosian, Head of the Convention Secretariat, WHO will be available for phone interviews.
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