• April 17, 2024

Brazilian Lawmakers Debate COP10

 Brazilian Lawmakers Debate COP10
Photo: SindiTabaco

Brazil’s House of Representatives held a public hearing June 15 to clarify the country’s position in the upcoming conference of the parties to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which is scheduled to take place in Panama in November (COP10).

The debate had been requested by federal deputy Alceu Moreira, who lamented the degree of “injustice, disinformation and ideologically oriented political correctness” he claimed to have witnessed in the runup to the conference.

“We produce a licit crop; we are not committing a crime,” said Moreira. “We are proud of engaging in constructive debates with the aim to protect a licit crop and we refuse to be reprimanded for growing tobacco.”

As one of the world’s largest exporters of leaf tobacco, Brazil could be heavily impacted by the decisions made at COP10. In the most recent season, the southern region of Brazil alone produced 560 million kg of tobacco, generating BRL9.5 billion ($1.98 billion) for 128,000 farm families.

The public hearing was attended by representatives of the ministry of foreign affairs, the ministry of agriculture and livestock, and the ministry of agrarian development and family farming. The ministry of health declined to take part, saying that the debate was premature, given that the WHO had yet to publish an agenda for COP10.

The tobacco industry was represented by the tobacco growers association Afubra and the interstate tobacco industry union SindiTabaco, among other organizations.

SindiTabaco President Iro Schünke lamented the lack of transparency in the FCTC meetings. “The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is the worst dictatorship I know, where the real interested parties are not allowed to take part in the debates,” he said.

The tobacco industry, said Schünke, produces a licit crop that generates income and jobs for millions of Brazilians and is committed to sustainable production. “My intervention is to discover what stance the Brazilian delegation will adopt at the upcoming COP 10 meeting and warn about the consequences from a poorly conducted positioning at the COP,” he said in a statement.