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COP7:’Take meaningful steps to check global tobacco epidemic’

Ahead of a global meet on tobacco in India, a civil society network today said that one billion people, which is nearly the population of India, will die from tobacco use this century while urging countries taking part in the meet to take meaningful steps to alter this forecast.

India is all set to host the Seventh Session of the Conference of Parties (COP7) to World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) during November 7-12, at Greater Noida, which will be inaugurated by Union Health Minister J P Nadda.

“After 10 years, FCTC Parties have developed a detailed consensus on the measures needed to address the global tobacco epidemic. Starting next week, Parties must shift their focus to ensuring that the treaty is as effective as possible on the ground,” said Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) Executive Director Francis Thompson.

It said that another agenda which should be prioritised is the report of a working group on mobilising more resources for tobacco control.

Despite the FCTC’s life-saving measures being widely recognised as effective and low-cost, in general few resources are dedicated to them.

“FCA urges COP7 to review parties’ current implementation needs and develop a list of priorities, agree on a mechanism to routinely review parties’ needs, and mandate the FCTC Secretariat, working with relevant stakeholders, to communicate implementation needs to potential donors strategically and systematically,” FCA said.

“One billion people – nearly the population of India – will die from tobacco use this century unless current trends change. Parties to the FCTC COP meeting in New Delhi next week can take meaningful steps to alter that forecast,” it said.

It said that at COP6 in 2012, FCTC Parties adopted a global target to reduce tobacco use by 30 per cent by 2025 and highlighting Parties’ progress towards that target would help potential donors to focus on the effectiveness of the treaty’s measures.

“The COP, as the specialised body that deals with the FCTC, must make the case for much more energetic implementation, with the necessary political will, technical assistance and resources to make this global target a reality,” said Thompson.

Other issues on the COP7 agenda that FCA will be focussing include, tobacco industry liability for the devastation caused by its products, FCTC’s illicit trade protocol, the treatment of tobacco in trade agreements, and tobacco and sustainable development.

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