Twenty legal, trade and health department representatives from across the Pacific met in Fiji to examine the Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) burden in the region and the role of the law in preventing and controlling NCDs, particularly in the context of developing coherence between health, trade and investment laws, policies and sectors.
The Law, NCD, Trade and Sustainable Development workshop, a first for the region, is jointly organized by the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, a WHO FCTC Secretariat Knowledge Hub, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pacific Community (SPC) with support from the Government of Australia.
The workshop discussed the health, social and economic burdens of tobacco use in the Pacific, and the importance of tobacco control to health and to sustainable development in the Pacific. It noted the progress made by a number of Pacific countries in implementing the WHO FCTC, to which all Pacific Island countries are party, and the need to continue to strengthen tobacco control laws and policies. Participants discussed the major lessons from governments’ successes in defending tobacco control measures from tobacco industry legal challenges in both domestic and international courts and tribunals, focusing on the important role that the WHO FCTC and its guidelines have played in strengthening governments’ legal positions. Participants also discussed the need for strong implementation of Article 5.3 of the Convention across all sectors of government.
The workshop brought together officials from the legal, trade and health departments from the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Guam, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.