COP 9 & MOP 2: Interference by the Tobacco Industry and its Allies

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Background

The World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is an international treaty that aims to reduce the demand and supply of tobacco. The WHO FCTC includes a specific obligation, Article 5.3, to protect public health policies from interference by the tobacco industry and those representing the interests of the tobacco industry. More information on Article 5.3, and tobacco industry attempts to undermine the FCTC, can be found on the TobaccoTactics FCTC page.

A summary and timeline of FCTC regulations can be found on:
FCTC Regulations on the Need to Protect Public Health Policies from Tobacco Industry Interference

FCTC parties usually meet every two years at a Conference of the Parties (COP). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 9th session, or COP 9 as it is called, was postponed from 2020 to November 2021, to be held virtually.

Immediately following COP 9 is the second Meeting of the Parties (MOP 2). This oversees the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products. This treaty was adopted at COP 5 and addresses means of countering illicit trade in tobacco products.

This page summarises interference by the tobacco industry and its allies around the 9th Conference of the Parties (COP 9).  It also covers the second session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP2).

Incidents of documented interference at previous COPs can be found in a timeline on:
History of Interference by the Tobacco Industry and its Allies During COP and MOP

Grants from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW) is wholly funded by Philip Morris International (PMI)

INNCO

Knowledge Action Change

  • Another major FSFW grantee, Knowledge-Action-Change (K-A-C), publisher of the Global State of Tobacco-Harm Reduction (GSTHR) reports, has criticised the FCTC and COP. K-A-C  released a GSTHR report titled “Fighting the Last War: The WHO and International Tobacco Control” on 27 October 2021.2 Fellow FSFW grantees, and now ex-President of the FSFW Derek Yach, spoke at the launch event. Ahead of the launch, GSTHR released a set of briefing papers that criticise the WHO FCTC and seek to use the UK’s stance on harm-reduction to influence international discussions at COP 9.3

Analysis of the FSFW’s 2020 tax return shows it awarded specific COP 9-related grants to two organisations, in Pakistan and Argentina, in addition to INNCO.1

Alternative Research Institute – Pakistan

  • Pakistan’s Alternative Research Institute, received US$176,400 in 2020 to “build a momentum to include smokers’ concern in tobacco efforts before the COP9”.4

Asociación Argentina de Servicios Médicos de Avanzada – Argentina

  • The Argentinian Asociación Argentina de Servicios Médicos de Avanzada, received US$128,850 from FSFW for a project to “garner consensus and support for the ninth session of Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (COP 9) to consider harm reduction as integral to tobacco control”.1

Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey – Turkey

  • In September 2021, the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), another FSFW grantee, 5 launched a report titled “The Economics of Curbing Smoking in Turkey: A Scoping Review”.6 The report argues that the effectiveness of the implementation of WHO FCTC measures in the countries that adopted them have not all been up to expectations.

Tobacco Industry Meeting with Government in Brazil

  • In August 2021, there was a collaboration meeting between members of the Brazilian government and the tobacco industry in preparation for COP 9. During this meeting, the tobacco industry asked for the support of the Brazilian government.7 A summary of tobacco industry positions was sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to “ensure that the government takes into account the views of the tobacco supply chain and act to ensure that COP 9 does not result in harm to their interests”.8Civil society organisations denounced the industry’s attempts to interfere with the preparations for COP 9. As a result, the Brazilian National Commission for the Implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (CONICQ), called for an open meeting in September. During this meeting, Federal Deputy for Rio Grande do Sul Marcelo Moraes and other government representatives, dismissed CONICQ efforts to discuss the Brazilian positions towards COP 9, arguing that CONICQ’s existence was under legal challenge.89CONICQ was created in 2003, within the scope of the Ministry of Health, and has achieved international acclaimed for its achievements in tobacco control policies. However, along with other institutional spaces, the Commission was extinguished by the Decree No. 9,759/2019, during President Bolsonaro´s administration. The issue was taken to the Federal Supreme Court, where the measure was declared unconstitutional. After this decision, the Ministry of Health reinstated CONICQ´s legitimacy and existence. Over 70 organizations working in tobacco control in Brazil, Latin America and the world supported CONICQ and requested “the urgent and necessary formal reconstitution of the Conicq, by means of a presidential decree” 9 to prevent the tobacco industry undermining of the institution and any setbacks to the implementation of the FCTC.

COP Enquiry run by UK All Party Parliamentary Group

TobaccoTactics Resources

Relevant Links

References

  1. abcFoundation for a Smoke-Free World, Form 990-PF, 2020 Tax Return, 17 May 2021, accessed May 2021
  2. Knowledge-Action-Change, Fighting the Last War: The WHO and International Tobacco Control, website, undated, accessed November 2021
  3. GSTHR, Ahead of major global meeting on tackling smoking, experts set to challenge WHO position on safer nicotine, October 2021, accessed October 2021
  4. Pakistan Alliance for Nicotine and Tobacco Harm Reduction, Job Announcement, PANTHR website, undated, archived 08 May 2020, accessed September 2020
  5. Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, Awarded grants, accessed November 2021
  6. The Economics of Curbing Smoking in Turkey, The Economics of Curbing Smoking in Turkey: A Scoping Review, August 2020, accessed November 2021
  7. Portal GAZ, Politicos e representantes do setor de tabaco pedem apoio ao governo na COP 9, August 2021, accessed November 2021
  8. abMaíra Mathias, Lobby do fumo ataca colegiado-chave da política antitabaco, O Joio e o trigo portal, September 2021, accessed November 2021
  9. abACT Saude, Manifesto pela imediata reconstituição formal da Comissão Nacional para Implementação da Convenção-Quadro para Controle do Tabaco pelo Governo Federal Brasileiro, September 2021, accessed November 2021
  10. abAll Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping, Inquiry into the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Conference of the Parties 9: A report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping Inquiry (COP9)March 2021, accessed April 2021
  11. R. Alebshehy, M. Zatoński M, S. Dance S, L. Laurence, P. Chamberlain A.B. Gilmore,  2021 UK Tobacco Industry Interference Index. Tobacco Control Research Group, University of Bath. November 2021
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