The WHO FCTC Secretariat’s Knowledge Hubs and the tobacco industry monitoring centres (observatories)

The Convention Secretariat works with, as part of its overall knowledge management activities and as a response to various decisions of the Conference of the Parties, institutions that could assist Parties in a number of technical areas of the Convention. These entities are also expected to assist the Convention Secretariat in fulfilling the mandates given to it by the Conference of the Parties.

These collaborative partners are:

  • the WHO FCTC Secretariat’s Knowledge Hubs, that focus their work on some articles of the Convention, and specifically, on providing assistance to Parties in their implementation of those articles; and
  • tobacco industry monitoring centres (observatories), that monitor, identify, document and support any work that prevent tobacco industry interference with implementation of the WHO FCTC, in line with the requirements of Article 5.3 of the Convention and the recommendations of the relevant guidelines.

Knowledge Hubs

The Convention Secretariat has established seven knowledge hubs so far (at least one in each of the WHO regions). The hubs’ task is to analyse, synthesize and disseminate to the Parties to the Convention knowledge and information on matters under their expertise in relation to the Convention, in accordance with Article 22 (Cooperation in the scientific, technical, and legal fields and provision of related expertise). The knowledge hubs are global in the scope of their work, and their work will go beyond the boundaries of the hosting countries, sub-regions and regions. New knowledge hubs may be established in the future.

The first knowledge hub became operational in Australia in 2014. The list of current hubs is given in the table below

The hubs are maintaining their individual web pages. These are accessible through a centralized platform Click here to visit the website

Parties that wish to receive assistance from the knowledge hubs in the respective areas of work should contact the Convention Secretariat at The Secretariat will then coordinate with the relevant hub, and other partners if appropriate, to arrange for the required assistance to the Party.

The Convention Secretariat regularly informs Parties on the activities of the knowledge hubs. The newsletter is produced every two month and it is sent directly to Parties’ registered FCTC technical focal points. The newsletters published so far are accessible at the link below.

Icon author Picol - licensed by CC 3.0 BY

Tobacco industry monitoring centres (observatories)

The Guidelines for implementation of Article 5.3 of the Convention recommends that Parties monitor the activities of the tobacco industry. The Convention Secretariat assisted with the establishment of tobacco industry observatories in some interested Parties. These observatories inform policy makers and governments with a view to prevent tobacco industry interference, thus contributing to the implementation of Article 5.3 by the Parties. The outcomes of the work of the observatories is shared with all Parties to the Convention.

The project is establishing observatories was initiated under the BRICS framework, and the first centre was launched and is hosted by Fundação Oswaldo Cruz in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. There are three observatories currently in operation; in addition to that in Brazil, South Africa and Sri Lanka also operates observatories. The WHO FCTC Secretariat’s Knowledge Hub for Article 5.3, with the assistance of the Convention Secretariat, coordinates the work of such observatories. It is expected that other Parties will also establish observatories in the future.


The WHO FCTC Secretariat’s Knowledge Hubs and the current tobacco industry observatories have received financial support from the Convention Secretariat, which used a grant received from the European Commission. (Grant agreement DCI_SANTE/2011/261_053).

The observatories have also been supported through extra-budgetary contributions received from the Governments of Brazil, Panama and Russian Federation. The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (the Union), an observer to COP, also provided direct financial assistance to the observatories.