WHO FCTC denies observer status to farmers’ group, 12 NGOs

Greater Noida, Nov 8 (IANS) The World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) has rejected the applications for observer status by 13 NGOs, including the Federation of All India Farmers Association (FAIFA).

The seventh edition of the convention is underway here.

Some of the other groups denied the observer status include the All India Bidi Industry Association (AIBIA), Childlink Foundation, Consumer Packaging Manufacturers Alliance, the Philippines Tobacco Institute and the World Tobacco Farmer’s Organisation.

The decision to turn down their application for observer status at the FCTC was taken by the FCTC Secretariat on the first day of the Convention.

“It has been decided to reject the status of observer to 13 organisations,” reads the copy of the statement, accessed by IANS.

The other organisations denied the observer status include the Aman-Saulyk, Kelab Integrasi Komuniti dan social, Lega Italiana Anti Fumo, Polish Cancer Patients Coalition, Sarhad Chamber of Agriculture, Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, and the Virginia Tobacco Farmers Association.

The FAIFA and the AIBIA have been part of the series of protests against the FCTC COP7, after being denied participation under the Article 5.3 of the Convention.

The article states that “in setting and implementing the public health policies with respect to tobacco control, Parties (member nations) shall act to protect the policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law”.

The FCTC Secretariat has, however, decided to grant observer status to the American Cancer Society, Inter American Heart Foundation and the Vision mondiale de la SantA (World Health Vision).

“There are certain norms which need to be fulfilled for every applicant for the observer status in FCTC conventions. First of all, we have to avoid the tobacco industry from here and then the organisations who have been working against the tobacco, also have to be working internationally and not just in one specific country or place,” said a senior member of the FCTC, without willing to be named.

Under the FCTC norms, observers are allowed to participate without the right to vote in public or open meetings of the Conference of the Parties and its subsidiary bodies and may speak after other observers registered under the category of members or associates of WHO or any specialised agency of the United Nations among similar others.

WHO FCTC COP7 — world’s biggest convention on anti-tobacco policies — commenced on Monday at the India Exposition Mart here, witnessing the participation of nearly 1,500 delegates from 180 countries. The conference will see formulation of stringent norms to curb tobacco consumption and ways to halt the illicit trade of tobacco rising globally.