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Participants at the recently held 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) in Cape Town, South Africa, have identified the Tobacco Industry (Big Tobacco) as a driver of poverty, linked to child labor, violation of workers’ rights, food insecurity and exploitation of farmers, among others.
The over 2500 participants have therefore suggested to African governments to take concrete and urgent action to implement alternative livelihood policies that would keep their people from depending on income from tobacco.
They agreed largely that ending the scourge of tobacco and achieving the SDGs will require urgent action.
To this effect, an Eleven point declaration at the end of the conference has urged governments across the world to unite with civil society to stop Big Tobacco’s interference and accelerate implementation of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco (WHO FCTC) using governmental approach.
They urged governments, scientists, research entities, foundations, and civil society organizations to reject or cease engagement with the Philip Morris International-funded Foundation for a Smokefree World and other initiatives of the tobacco industry
“We adopt the Cape Town Declaration on Human Rights and a Tobacco-free World,” they stated.
Among others, the conference also called on African governments to operationalize the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development that recommends increasing tobacco taxes as an untapped, sustainable domestic resource mobilization strategy, for accelerating the implementation of the WHO FCTC in Africa.
The full declaration after the conference can be found below.
WCTOH 2018 Declarations
- We call on governments to unite with civil society to stop tobacco industry interference and accelerate implementation of the WHO FCTC using a whole of government approach.
- We urge governments, scientists, research entities, foundations, and civil society organizations to reject or cease engagement with the Philip Morris International-funded Foundation for a Smokefree World and other initiatives of the tobacco industry
- We adopt the Cape Town Declaration on Human Rights and a Tobacco-free World
- We call on African governments to operationalize the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development that recommends increasing tobacco taxes as an untapped, sustainable domestic resource mobilization strategy, for accelerating the implementation of the WHO FCTC in Africa
- We call on Parties to actively engage in the development of the WHO FCTC Medium Term Strategic Framework and Plan and to endorse them at the forthcoming eighth session of the Conference of the Parties of the WHO FCTC.
- We support the concept of a tobacco free generation and commit to empowering youth involvement and advocacy as a means to achieving a tobacco free world.
- We call on Finance Ministers to actively support the WCTOH 2018 Declarations by prioritizing sustainable funding for tobacco control and ceasing public and private investment in the tobacco industry.
- We call on governments to extend as a priority, fiscal policies to continually decrease the affordability and accessibility of tobacco products
- We call on the Parties to the WHO FCTC to integrate gender based data collection and reporting into Party reports to the Conference of the Parties on their implementation of the WHO FCTC by COP9.
- We call upon the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to align with the decision of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and end its collaboration with the tobacco industry immediately
- We call upon governments to develop a plan by 2021 for phasing out the sale of tobacco products.
The tobacco epidemic represents one of the biggest public health threats that the world has ever faced.
It is estimated that tobacco use kills more than 7 million people each year, and the vast majority of these deaths take place in low-and middle-income countries.
The global economic cost of smoking amounts to nearly 2 trillion dollars and 2 percent of the worlds GDP in 2016.
Tobacco use also undermines sustainable development, imposing a huge burden on the global economy, exacerbating poverty, contributing to food insecurity, and harming the environment.
Source: Jeorge Wilson Kingson || ghananewsonline.com.gh