Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products opened for signature

The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, adopted by the Parties to the WHO FCTC in November 2012 in Seoul, Republic of Korea, was opened for signature by the Parties in a ceremony at WHO Headquarters on 10 January 2013.

More than 50 Parties participated in the event and 12 Parties representing all six regions signed the Protocol on this occasion. These countries are China, France, Gabon, Libya, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Panama, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey and Uruguay. In addition, Tunisia signed the Protocol on Friday, 11 January, while the treaty was still open for signature in Geneva.

After the initial two days in Geneva, the Protocol was opened for signature at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and will remain so until 9 January 2014. It will enter into force 90 days after the 40th Party has ratified it.

The Parties who took the floor at the opening ceremony expressed their strong commitment to and support for the Protocol, some of them declaring their intention to sign it in the near future.

The WHO Director-General also attended and addressed the ceremony. Among the speakers were the Permanent Representatives of the Republic of Korea and Uruguay to the UN in Geneva, representing the current and preceding Presidencies of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO FCTC.

Other speakers included representatives of key partners named in the Protocol itself – the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime and the World Customs Organization – with the Framework Convention Alliance speaking on behalf of its members.

The new international treaty is aimed at combating illegal trade in tobacco products through control of the supply chain and international cooperation. As a key measure, Parties commit to establishing a global tracking and tracing system to reduce and eventually eradicate illicit trade.

All photos credit: WHO/Pierre Albouy