The Ninth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control has closed on November 12, 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland, with an agreement to embark on an innovative multi-million-dollar financial plan to strengthen global tobacco control measures. This year, the Conference was held virtually.
A key milestone arising from COP9 is the decision to move forward with the development and launch of an investment fund which will offer a third source of support to help global tobacco control efforts. This lays a foundation for financial stability for the future implementation of the WHO FCTC. The fund will complement existing revenue received from Parties through assessed contributions and extra budgetary support.
This new initiative will source financial contributions beyond the traditional health sector, establishing a capital investment fund, the earned revenue of which will be used to support the activities of the Convention. Recognizing the unique skills required to manage and sustain the fund, the governing body of the WHO FCTC will be seeking the guidance of the World Bank, and will create an Oversight Committee, comprised of experts in financial and investment management representing the six WHO Regions and including observers from civil society to help guide the Fund.
The event also saw the highest level of participation since the initiation of the COPs. In this week’s event, 161 Parties were present, confirming that most countries are committed to the UN public health treaty aimed at reducing death and disease caused by tobacco consumption.
For the first time, the whole of COP9 was open to the media, who observed sessions where tobacco control measures were discussed between the Parties.
Dr. Adriana Blanco Marquizo said, “This demonstrates the enormous power of this COP9 where 161 sovereign states debated for four and a half days, and by consensus decided which topics they wanted to decide upon in this session, and which others they want to defer to COP 10.”
COP9 adopted the “Declaration on WHO FCTC and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic”, proposed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, and co-sponsored by a broad group of Parties. It stresses the need to protect public health policy from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry, and that tobacco control measures, particularly increases in tobacco taxes, should be an integral part in pandemic recovery efforts.