Nine Parties – Cambodia, China, Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Thailand and Viet Nam participated in the first in a series of multisectoral workshops to promote ratification of the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products. The workshop was hosted by the Government of Myanmar and held from 9-11 December in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
During the workshop, the key Protocol obligations were introduced and examples of advanced practices in their implementation presented. Parties also exchanged experiences with regard to ratification, including challenges faced. The necessity of mutual cooperation and sharing of expertise among Parties, and possible contributions by international partners in assisting Parties in achieving ratification, were highlighted. Another focus of the workshop was the interference of the tobacco industry and the importance of preventing any participation of the tobacco industry in the process towards ratification and in implementation of the Protocol.
The workshop revealed that most Parties in attendance are at a relatively early stage in the ratification process. While some Parties have to translate the Protocol in their national language(s), others have to carry out a gap analysis, review their legislation to assess compliance with Protocol requirements, raise awareness of the Protocol, engage in discussions with key government sectors, or amend legislation prior to ratification.
The workshop was organized by the Convention Secretariat and support was provided by WHO, particularly by the Regional Offices for South-East Asia and the Western Pacific and the Department of Prevention of NCDs at WHO Headquarters. Funding was kindly provided by the European Anti-Fraud Office of the European Commission (OLAF). The World Customs Organization, the World Bank and two nongovernmental organizations that are observers to the Conference of the Parties the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance and the Union actively participated.