Palau: national coordination mechanism established

The Republic of Palau is establishing a new national coordinating mechanism, as required under Article 5.2(a) of the WHO FCTC, with its madate covering, beyong tobacco control, all non-communicable diseases. In an executive order, President Thommy E. Remengesau Jr. announced the creation of a coordinating Committee which shall include representatives from different ministries and agencies and is to co-operate closely with NGOs, the private sector and civil society.

“Preventable and premature deaths caused by NCDs pose heavy burdens on individual families and clans. NCDs also create challenges for our already resource constrained health system, undermine our economic development, are a catalyst for poverty and affect our social fabric”, President Remengesau pointed out.

The first meeting of the Committee is scheduled for 10 June 2015.

Concerning tobacco, the national plan aims at full compliance with the WHO FCTC and a 30% reduction in prevalence of tobacco use by 2020. Short-term goals include improved capacities for tobacco dependence treatment, education and training activities, the introduction of monitoring and evaluation systems as well as earmarking of tobacco tax revenues for tobacco control purposes.

Prevalence of tobacco use, especially chewing tobacco, is high in Palau, 60% of adult Palauans consume betel nut with tobacco. Smoking tobacco is becoming more popular in the younger generations with an estimated prevalence of 41% among youths.