Meeting of the Expert Group on Articles 9 and 10 of the WHO FCTC

Speech by the Head of Convention Secretariat
21 November 2019

Welcome to the meeting of the Expert Group on Articles 9 and 10.

Last year in Geneva, at the eighth session of the COP, the Working Group on Articles 9 and 10 was suspended, and decision FCTC/COP8(21) requested the Convention Secretariat to establish, in accordance with guidance from the Bureau, an expert group on these articles of the Convention. The main objective of this group is to examine the reasons for low implementation of Articles 9 and 10 of the Convention, and related partial guidelines, by Parties.

The COP was already made aware of some of the difficulties faced by Parties in implementing Articles 9 and 10, as reported under the reporting cycle and analyzed in the 2018 Global progress report on the implementation of the WHO FCTC, situating these articles among those with the lowest implementation rates.

Parties also recognize the continued and intensified attempts by the tobacco industry and entities and individuals working to further its interests to influence the work carried out in product regulation under the auspices of the Convention. This issue gains especial attention nowadays with the arrival of new and emerging nicotine and tobacco products to the international markets, posing an extra layer of difficulties to product regulation.

This Expert Group meets for the first and only time before COP9 here in the Netherlands, with a clear mandate to gather and analyze global information on the challenges and best practices of Parties while implementing Articles 9 and 10, and related partial guidelines. The identification of positive experiences from sources such as the Parties’ reports on implementation of the WHO FCTC, an ad-hoc questionnaire and especially the feedback all of you will bring to the discussions will allow to work on conclusions and recommendations to be brought to this same country in a year’s time for COP9.

The Convention Secretariat is contributing to the deliberations of this meeting with a background report commissioned on the analysis of Parties reports and responses to the questionnaire. This will allow experts in the group to arrive to a common understanding of the most pressing barriers to regulate the contents and disclosure of tobacco products, and to identify possible successful pathways to promote and improve this mandate derived from the Convention, to be incorporated in the report of the Expert Group to COP9. The Group should also discuss whether and how to go in regard to the possible establishment of a Knowledge Hub that would, following the example from existing ones, contribute to support Parties in implementing Articles 9 and 10 measures in coordination with existing centers of excellence on the matter.

Attention should be given to successful international cooperation experiences, identifying effective pathways for collaborative work in combating the threats of the tobacco industry and its deadly products. Finally, the conclusions derived from the discussions will guide the COP on the next steps to strengthen the capacity of Parties to monitor and regulate this, usually overlooked, essential requirement for a comprehensive tobacco control strategy.

I wish you a fruitful two days of discussion and exchanges.