• May 27, 2024

Activists Worried About COP Transparency

 Activists Worried About COP Transparency
Photo: Alexey Novikov

The World Vapers Alliance (WVA) is worried about the transparency and inclusivity of the upcoming COP10 meeting for the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

The WVA cites a recent Politico article, according to which seven EU member states have expressed reservations regarding their diminished roles and the Commission’s deviation from established practices in the face of global treaties.

“It’s deeply concerning that such pivotal discussions affecting millions of vapers and smokers across the EU might not reflect all member states’ diverse views and interests, not to mention the diverse views of their citizens,” said WVA Director Michael Landl in a statement.

“The Commission’s evident anti-harm reduction stance starkly contrasts with several member states that have been more progressive and successful with their harm reduction policies. These nations and citizens deserve to have their voices amplified and heard.”

According to the Politico report cited by the WVA, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Romania and Slovakia jointly released a statement highlighting the Commission’s shift from the usual consensus-based approach to using Article 218 (9) TFEU. This gives the Commission a more centralized role in the Panama negotiations, sidelining individual member states. The countries stressed the success of the consensus model in the past nine sessions and regretted the lack of a detailed explanation for the change.

Additionally, these nations lamented the absence of an ambitious proposal for a working group focusing on novel products. The established plans regarding the EU’s representation in FCTC expert working groups have also been questioned, with concerns about representation, rotation and coordination among the 27 member states.

“The EU had a true opportunity to assume leadership in smoking-cessation efforts by pushing for an ambitious and consumer-friendly harm reduction strategy. Embracing less harmful products such as vaping, nicotine pouches and heat-not-burn products—which have already saved millions of smokers’ lives—would be a bold step forward. Unfortunately, the EU still has a long way to go,” remarked Landl.