India to host 7th session of global conference on tobacco control

The Conference of Parties (COP) to be held at New Delhi between 7th to 12th November is expected to witness the participation of international and national delegates from 180 countries

The Secretary (Health and Family Welfare), Mr C K Mishra addressing a press conference for the Seventh Session of Conference of Parties (COP 7) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), hosted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare from 7th -12th November, in New Delhi on November 03, 2016.

New Delhi: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India is hosting the Seventh Session of the Conference of Parties (COP7) to WHO FCTC during 7-12 November, 2016, at India Exposition Mart, Greater Noida. The Conference shall be inaugurated by Mr J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare.

Mr C K Mishra, Health Secretary briefed the media and said that this is a very critical and important event that will give us an opportunity to showcase what we have done and learn from other countries. Mr Mishra further informed that President of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mr Maithripala Sirisena is a special invited speaker at the conference. The conference will lead into Delhi Declaration for supporting measures for tobacco control, the Secretary (HFW) added.

It is the first occasion that a Conference of Parties (COP) meeting is being held in India and signals a strong 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.

Approx. 1500 delegates are expected to participate in the conference from around 180 countries along with other Observers in Official Relations with the WHO FCTC Secretariat, Geneva.

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is the first global evidence-based public health treaty that recognises the right of all people to the highest standard of health. The Treaty was developed by countries in response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic. There are currently 180 Parties to the Convention. India has been the forerunner in ratification of this public health treaty and was the 7th Country to ratify the Convention in 2004. India provided a leadership role in the negotiations of FCTC and was also the Regional Coordinator for the South-East Asia Region. India ratified the treaty on 27th February 2005 and is therefore obligated to comply with the treaty provisions and its guidelines to reduce tobacco consumption globally.

The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the Governing Body of the WHO FCTC and is comprised of all Parties to the Convention. It keeps under regular review the implementation of the Convention and takes the decisions necessary to promote its effective implementation, and may also adopt protocols, annexes and amendments to the Convention. The regular sessions of COP are held at two yearly intervals and therefore, this time, the Seventh Session of Conference of Parties (COP7) is being hosted by Government of India in partnership with the WHO FCTC Secretariat, which is based at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva.

India has taken significant steps to implement decisions of previous COP sessions. As per the decisions taken during the Sixth Session of Conference of Parties (COP6), Government of India has set up a Global Knowledge Hub on Smokeless Tobacco at National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research (NICPR). This hub serves as a repository of knowledge related to smokeless tobacco.

The 6 days event will be marked by opening of the session on 7th November, 2016 followed by adoption of agenda and organization of work. In addition, there would be Meetings of the Bureau; Informal regional meetings and the European Union coordination meetings; side events and Media Events- Two news conferences will be held during COP7: on Monday 7 November 2016, and on Saturday 12 November 2016, straight after closure of COP7. More information can be obtained from from the website here.