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Illicit trade in tobacco products is an alarming issue which undermines implementation of the FCTC.

Progress on tackling it could be made at COP7, but only if Parties collaborate.

To enter into force, the ITP needs 40 ratifications. At the moment, there are 24 Parties. During the debate on Tuesday, Parties explained their concerns about the Protocol’s implementation, mostly related to technical aspects and related costs.

Parties should be reassured that they will not have an impossible task after ratification. With regards to Parties that have already ratified (or are about to ratify), the concerns are that they are setting up and implementing measures of the ITP without talking to one another.

A forum for exchange of best practices where Parties can discuss problems and solutions should be set up.

The Meeting of the Parties (MOP1), which has to take place around the regular COP session and therefore not before the end 2018, will unfortunately come too late to address immediate concerns.

To facilitate discussions among Parties, a working group on preparations for the entry into force of the ITP could be set up.

Yesterday, the Convention Secretariat tabled three options to prepare for MOP1. Because of its costs, the option to set up an inter-governmental working group was not supported.

In light of those constraints, the option to establish a pre-MOP working group open only to Parties to the Protocol may be preferable.

The decision on that type of group to set up should be driven by the objectives of that group, particularly that of exchanging experience in implementing the Protocol and ensuring that any tracking and tracing regimes must be compliant with the Protocol requirements of independence from the tobacco industry set out in its article 8.12.

Florence Berteletti
Director Smokefree Partnership
Wael Safwat Abdul Meguid

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