India Hosted Conference of Parties (COP 7) WHO FCTC Meeting at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida
Greater Noida - Nov 07-12, 2016 : India hosted the seventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP7) from 7th – 12th November 2016 at India Expo Mart Ltd. Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The meetings jointly organised by the Government of India and the Convention Secretariat.

The formal title of the meeting was the seventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP7). Tentatively around 1500 delegates participated in the conference from around 180 countries along with other observers in official relations with the WHO FCTC Secretariat.

It is the first occasion that a COP meeting was held in India that signals a strong and generous commitment of the Government of India to increase international co-operation and awareness of the WHO FCTC globally and especially in the WHO South-East Asia Region.

The seventh Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) was concluded on November 12, 2016 with significant new developments for global tobacco control. Delegates leaving the venue heralded it a success and looked forward to extending the influence of the treaty. Several significant decisions were adopted in the course of the six-day session.

During an intense week of discussions delegates addressed the longest agenda of any COP indicating the enthusiasm of Parties and the growing role of tobacco control within areas of development and human rights, as well as public health. The decisions reached shaping the future of the Convention, is set against the stark reality that without strong tobacco control measures tobacco will kill about 1 billion people in the 21st Century. By 2030 over 80 percent of the world’s tobacco-related mortality will be in low- and- middle income countries.

The Delhi Declaration presented by India at the closing ceremony of COP 7 was agreed upon by all parties and was submitted to the WHO FCTC Convention. The following are the key issues presented as part of the declaration as below:

Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS): depiction of tobacco in entertainment media (Article 13)
The decision calls on Parties to consider scaling up implementation to achieve comprehensive coverage of both cross-border advertising and TAPS in entertainment media. The report to the delegates stated, the situation is still alarming. Parties have therefore once again raised concerns in relation to the expanded use of entertainment media to promote tobacco use and have called for targeted action to address the issue. Monitoring the use of TAPS in entertainment media and cross-border advertising is also included in the decision which accords with national legislation and priorities.

Tobacco industry interference (Article 5.3)
Parties continue to be concerned expressed at COP7, by the tobacco industry’s persistent attempts to infiltrate and manipulate the workings of the Convention and the outcome of COP7. Noting with concern that the tobacco industry’s tactics at the international level affects implementation of the Convention at a country level. COP7 urged Parties to intensify multi-sectoral actions and cooperation to address strategies of the tobacco industry to undermine or subvert tobacco control. It calls on Parties to remain vigilant of tobacco industry efforts to undermine the implementation of WHO FCTC.

Control and prevention of water pipe tobacco products
Monitoring of water pipe tobacco use through national surveillance systems to cover all age groups and all policy aspects is included in the decision. It will include use of water pipes in the ban of tobacco use in public places and to ban the use of flavourings in water pipe tobacco products.

Electronic nicotine delivery systems and electronic non-nicotine delivery systems
The decision on electronic nicotine delivery systems and electronic non-nicotine delivery systems (ENDS/ENNDS) invites Parties that have not yet banned the importation, sale and distribution of ENDS/ENNDS to consider either prohibition or regulating such products.

Parties called for further unbiased, commercially independent and scientifically-based research to ascertain the overall health impact and long-term public health risks of ENDS/ENNDS. Some Parties expressed concern at the use of health claims as a marketing tool for ENDS/ENNDS. There was also consideration that all the different devices and delivery systems should be regulated under national legislation in the same way as drugs or tobacco products, while others called for them to be banned outright. Further evidence-based scientific research is to be prepared.

Economically sustainable alternatives to tobacco growing (Article 17 & 18)
The decision encourages Parties not growing tobacco to not start. It urges Parties to adopt a whole-of-government approach and participation with stakeholders to promote alternatives to tobacco growing and avoid tobacco industry obstruction in programmes meant for welfare and diversification of tobacco growing and workers and the protection of the environment as appropriate in the national context.

Parties recognize scientific evidence has established that tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke causes death, disease and disability. The Parties adopt the report of the expert group, including a specifically designed toolkit as a mechanism of assistance to those Parties that may require assistance in developing civil liability. It encourages Parties to consider options, including developing their legislation or liability procedures as appropriate and increasing their international cooperation in order to strengthen implementation of Article 19 of the WHO FCTC.

Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products
The Parties were requested to continue to promote ratification, acceptance and approval of the protocol to eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products in order to facilitate its early entry into force. Addressing gender-specific risks when developing tobacco control strategies The Parties have requested further research on evidence on tobacco use and tobacco control and its consequences among girls and women, as well as boys and men, with special attention to vulnerable groups, in respect to social determinants of health. International cooperation, support for global NCD targets and human rights The Parties recognize that tobacco control is related to a number of Sustainable Development Goals and targets including those related to the environment and human rights. The Parties requested the Convention Secretariat to strengthen the treaty relationship with other international agencies and frameworks, enhancing synergies towards common global health and development goals. The Impact Assessment report presented to COP7 reveals how implementation of the WHO FCTC is gaining force around the world. Where it is applied prevalence drops and so does demand for tobacco.

The Declaration further called upon the parties to strengthen national capacity for tobacco taxes in accordance with Article 6 of the WHO FCTC in an effort to reduce consumption of tobacco products and improve revenue collection and domestic resource mobilisation to meet the commitments contained in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

India to preside next edition of COP7 in Geneva in 2018
The eighth edition of the Conference of Parties (COP8) to WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) will be held in Switzerland's Geneva under the presidency of India.
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