Nepal to represent FCTC as an observer

Kathmandu, February 7:

The two health ministry officials are participating in the convention for the effective implementation of Tobacco Control Treaty to be held in Geneva.

Dr Nirakar Man Shrestha, chief specialist and Rishi Raj Bhandari, Legal officer of Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) are participating in the Global Tobacco Convention, which is taking place this year.

Dr Hari Nath Acharya, spokesperson at Health Ministry said Nepal has not ratified the convention due to the lack of parliament in the country but is one of the signatories so Nepal is participating as an observer.

“The participation shows that government is serious about the implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) once ratified,” said Dr Acharya.

Meanwhile the World Health Organisation (WHO) issuing a press release stated here today that countries around the world are taking effective measures to curb tobacco use, including strong legislation, graphic warning labels and advertising bans.

According to WHO, more than 110 countries will participate this week to decide on the detailed implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO, FCTC).

Many of the countries joining this first Conference of the Parties (COP) in Geneva have already implemented some of the measures in the convention. Ireland, Norway and Spain, for example, have recently banned smoking in indoor public places.

The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the governing body of the Treaty and serves as the authority to oversee, monitor and evaluate progress of the Treaty, in order to reduce tobacco consumption and tobacco-related deaths globally.

According to the WHO, concrete measures included in the Treaty could help save 200 million lives world wide by the year 2050, if a progressive 50 per cent reduction in tobacco uptake and consumption rates is achieved.

Many measures in the WHO FCTC have deadlines and clear guidelines.

For example, from the Treaty’s entry into force, countries have three years to enforce health warnings on tobacco products, and five years to implement comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

Other measures, such as those regarding illicit trade or cross-border advertising, have not yet been detailed in the Treaty.

The COP could decide to develop protocols and specific guidelines and requirements for countries to implement these measures.

According to the press release, the COP will likely also consider other measures to ensure the effective implementation of the rest of the treaty provisions. These might include financial support for developing countries, or mechanisms to ensure that countries do not fall

behind in their implementation progress.

In February 2007, the first Contracting Parties will submit to the COP initial reports on their progress, specifying what actions they have taken to implement the tobacco control measures established in the Treaty.