The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is the first international treaty negotiated under the auspices of WHO. There are currently 181 Parties to the Convention. It was adopted by the World Health Assembly on 21 May 2003 and entered into force on 27 February 2005. It has since become one of the most rapidly and widely embraced treaties in United Nations history.
The WHO FCTC was developed by countries in response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic. It aims to tackle some of the causes of that epidemic, including complex factors with cross -border effects, such as trade liberalization and direct foreign investment, tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship beyond national borders, and illicit trade in tobacco products. The preamble to the Convention shows how countries viewed the need to develop such an international legal instrument.
Govt. of India ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in 2004, the first ever international public health treaty focusing on the global public health issue of tobacco control. WHO-FCTC provides for various measures to reduce the demand as well as supply of tobacco. India played a leading role in FCTC negotiations to finalize its provisions and was the regional coordinator for the South- East Asian countries.
About COP: 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. Observers may also participate in the work of the COP. The work of the COP is governed by its Rules of Procedure. Starting from COP3, the regular sessions of COP are held at every two years. COP sessions are as under:
The COP may establish such subsidiary bodies as are necessary to achieve the objective of the Convention. One example is the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body on a Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products. The first Protocol to the WHO FCTC, the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, was adopted at the fifth session of the COP, held in November 2012 in Seoul, Republic of Korea, following several rounds of negotiations by the Parties. The Protocol builds the WHO FCTC in the fight against illicit trade, and is a new international treaty in its own right. India is Party to this Protocol.