The Western Pacific region prepares for the Conference of the Parties

Governments are preparing for an international gathering that will influence future implementation of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

This week the Western Pacific region is the first group of countries to gather specifically to examine items on the COP7 agenda, in advance of the global event in Delhi, commencing 7th November. Representatives of the Parties to the Convention are reviewing the implementation of the WHO FCTC and hearing about progress on bringing into force the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.

This year there is focus on how the WHO FCTC can link more effectively into the goals defined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This includes considering recommendations on implementing sustainable alternative livelihoods, protecting human rights and addressing gender-specific risks.

Dr Vera da Costa e Silva, Head of the Convention Secretariat said, “With the commencement of the Western Pacific regional meeting this marks the final stage in preparations for the seventh session of the Conference of the Parties. This year will usher in a new era for the Convention as tobacco control measures become more fully connected to the UN’s sustainable development goals.”

The Convention Secretariat has prepared and made available all the documents linked to the agenda for the seventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP7), which now enables Parties to prepare their positions on key tobacco control measures.

Guangyuan Liu, Team Leader, Governance and International Cooperation at the Convention Secretariat directed the delivery of all 38 agenda documents and oversaw their translation into the six official languages of the Secretariat.

Speaking from the venue in Manila, Ms Liu said, “The regional meetings are essential as they help Parties develop plans and prepare positions in advance of the Conference of the Parties. This group is made up of a diverse set of countries but they all happen to be exceptionally proactive and the debates have been informed and constructive.”

The preparatory workshop was convened by the Convention Secretariat in the Philippines. The World Health Organisation Western Pacific regional office supported the preparations and hosting of the event. Parties attending are Australia, Cambodia, China, Japan, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Vietnam. On this occasion, Australia is chairing the workshop, in its capacity as the regional coordinator of the COP.

As participants go through the COP7 agenda they are taking into consideration implications associated with each proposal and recommendation contained in the agenda documents and how they might impact on tobacco control measures in the Western Pacific. Participating Parties at the regional workshop are also considering potential regional responses, joint actions and contributions which can be presented at COP7.

In addition, the international governmental organisation, the South Center is attending in an observer capacity. Also invited as observers are tobacco control non-governmental organisations; Framework Convention Alliance, The Union, Corporate Accountability International and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.