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Developing countries to be supported on FCTC policies

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) on Tuesday said developing countries will receive dedicated support to implement its policies.

The WHO FCTC called it (the policies) best instrument to ensure tobacco control worldwide that has 179 countries plus the European Union as its parties.

In the new project, to be delivered by the WHO FCTC Secretariat in collaboration with UNDP and other partners, a number of low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) will be eligible to receive direct support to implement tobacco control strategies and policies.

“The project will bring together support from across the UN to accelerate the implementation of the Convention,” said a statement issued by the FCTC on the second day of the Convention.

According to WHO, if current tobacco use patterns persist, it would kill about 1 billion people in the 21st century.

By 2030, over 80 per cent of the world’s tobacco-related mortality will be in Low and Middle Income Countries(LMIC).

“The treaty is an evidence-based “blueprint” for tobacco control policies. Tobacco use will be reduced if a country has a high level of WHO FCTC implementation,” said the statement.

Under the project, the countries will be offered support to create and strengthen coordination mechanisms and action across sectors to implement the WHO FCTC, including treaty obligations to ban tobacco advertising and promotion, ensure tobacco packaging has health warnings, end smoking in enclosed public and workplaces, increase tobacco taxes and protect public health policies from tobacco industry interference.

“The five-year project will open call for expressions of interest inviting LMIC governments wishing to join implementation from 2017,” said the statement.

The project will be delivered with the generous development funding from Britain.

FCTC on Monday had said Britain is ready to fund $90 million to the FCTC to curb smokeless tobacco consumption.

Promoting the project, Head of the FCTC Secretariat Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva said: “The implementation of the WHO FCTC is critical in advancing sustainable development. Through the new project, we will take implementation of the WHO FCTC to a new level by providing support and guidance to developing country parties.”

The significant harms of tobacco use on developing countries are usually understood primarily as health issue. This overlooks the extensive impact of tobacco on social, economic and environmental progress.

Tobacco control is a development issue and its success relies on the work of other sectors such as commerce, trade, finance, justice and education. This is why the international community agreed to include the implementation of the WHO FCTC in the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“There is a growing recognition that current tobacco trends and sustainable development cannot coexist. As a committed partner, UNDP welcomes this opportunity to advance tobacco control through better support to national planning, good governance and protection against tobacco industry interference in policy making,” Douglas Webb, Team Leader on Health and Innovative Financing at the UN Development Programme.

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