Unfairtobacco.org’s Laura Graen attended the third meeting of the WHO’s working group on sustainable alternatives to tobacco growing. Summing up her overall impression, she states: “What came out in the recommendation paper developed in the end is vague”.
Within the working group, representatives of various countries have been working towards developing policy options and recommendations for the implementation of Articles 17 and 18 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Observers from inter- and non-governmental organisations are allowed to take part as well as comment on the drafting of the recommendation paper.
New impetus for our work
“We are not authorised to report on the content of the discussions. However, what I can say is that we have gained an interesting insight into the workings of international negotations. We can use this new knowledge to improve our lobbying work towards our own government and towards international organisations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)”,
explained Laura at the end of the conference.
Going on, Ms. Graen states:
“The resulting policy options and recommendations are vague, as there is usually no agreement made on the provision of funds in this type of document. It is all very well to formulate recommendations, but someone will have to pay for their implementation. It is this specific point, which we must now tackle.”
Laura Graen was invited by the Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) to take part in the conference. Since 2008, Unfairtobacco.org has been a member of the FCA- an international association of organisations for tobacco control. Our involvement within the FCA focuses on the topics of alternatives to tobacco and workers’ rights. We are thus member of the task force on Articles 17 and 18 of the FCTC, in which these topics are the subject.
Just a draft so far
The recommendations for the implementation of Articles 17 and 18 are still in the process of being drafted. These will however perhaps be endorsed at the next Conference of the Parties to the FCTC (COP5) in November 2012.
The recommendations shall cover the following aspects: the development of sustainable alternatives to tobacco growing, monitoring and evaluation of progress made, international cooperation. Environmental degradation through tobacco growing (e.g. deforestation) and the health condition of workers shall also be dealt with.
In this process, the working group is orientating itself along guidelines outlined in a previous document issued following the last Conference of the Parties (COP4) (In Progress report of the working group [PDF] from August 15th 2010).