Parties from the Americas region plan for COP7

News release

Twenty five Parties across the Americas are meeting in Panama as they prepare for the global meeting that will review progress of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

This week the Americas region is gathering to examine items on the agenda of the seventh Conference of the Parties (COP7), to be held in New Delhi, India, 7 – 12 November. Representatives of the Parties to the Convention will take this opportunity to develop regional positions on tobacco control measures.

Statement from the Convention Secretariat

Dr Vera Luiza da costa e Silva, Head of the Convention Secretariat said, “This meeting provides the possibilities for delegations in the Americas to plan their strategies. COP is the governing body of the WHO FCTC and comprised of 180 Parties. But the twenty five Parties attending this regional meeting will play a role in the application of the Convention and they can develop plans that will impact on tobacco control measures here in the Americas as well as globally.”

Sustainable Development and the role of the Convention

This year there is a special focus on how the WHO FCTC can implement more effectively the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Tobacco control measures are core to the achievements of sustainable development and this includes considering recommendations on implementing sustainable alternative livelihoods, protecting human rights and addressing gender-specific risks.

Dr Carmen Audera López, Programme Manager at the Convention Secretariat, who is in Panama coordinating this meeting said, “In preparation for COP7 the regional meeting in Panama aims to review some of the 38 documents to be discussed in India and facilitate the preparation of the Parties of the region before COP7. It will also facilitate Parties in the region to prepare and establish common positions on some key measures for the control of tobacco.”

Review of Uruguay’s landmark international trade ruling

Delegates at the meeting in Panama will hear more about the historic international legal ruling made in favour of Uruguay. Tobacco control measures introduced in the country in compliance with its obligations under the WHO FCTC had been challenged by tobacco company Philip Morris.

The World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) confirmed in July that measures applied by the Government of Uruguay to reduce tobacco consumption did not violate the company's trade rights as established in investment agreements between Uruguay and Switzerland, where the company is headquartered.

This landmark decision placed Uruguay in the international spotlight as it championed public health measures.

Preparations for COP7

Among the topics being aired at the meeting will be commitment to international cooperation in implementing the WHO FCTC and in particular how Parties can work together to support the global targets for noncommunicable diseases and human rights. The Parties will also consider how tobacco control policies take precedents over the business interests of the tobacco industry.

This event offers delegations from the Americas region the chance to review together the impact of the Convention which will be discussed at COP7.

The meeting is co-organized by the Ministry of Health of Panama, the Pan American Health Organization, the World Health Organization and the Secretariat of the Convention.

Note to Editor

The Convention Secretariat is the global authority on the implementation of the WHO FCTC and its main function is to support the 180 Parties to the Convention. They are the governing bodies of the Convention and meet every two years at the Conference of the Parties to review and develop implementation of the Convention. The Secretariat is hosted by WHO in Geneva.

Contact:

Samuel Compton, mediafctc@who.int