Article 20 Research, surveillance and exchange of information

Article 20 of the WHO FCTC sets five requirements in relation to research, surveillance and exchange of information:

  1. The Parties undertake to develop and promote national research and to coordinate research programmes at the regional and international levels in the field of tobacco control.
  2. The Parties shall establish, as appropriate, programmes for national, regional and global surveillance of the magnitude, patterns, determinants and consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.
  3. Parties recognize the importance of financial and technical assistance from international and regional intergovernmental organizations and other bodies.
  4. The Parties shall, subject to national law, promote and facilitate the exchange of publicly available scientific, technical, socioeconomic, commercial and legal information, as well as information regarding practices of the tobacco industry and the cultivation of tobacco, which is relevant to this Convention, and in so doing shall take into account and address the special needs of developing country Parties and Parties with economies in transition.
  5. Parties should cooperate in regional and international intergovernmental organizations and financial and development institutions of which they are members, to promote and encourage provision of technical and financial resources to the Secretariat to assist developing country Parties and Parties with economies in transition to meet their commitments on research, surveillance and exchange of information.

The full text of the Article 20 is available here.

By the decision of the fifth session of the Conference of the Parties (decision FCTC/COP5(11)), the Convention Secretariat has developed an Indicator Compendium, aimed at facilitating access to treaty-specific indicators and their usage by the Parties.

The Compendium also supports Parties in meeting the requirements under the Article 20. Read more of the Indicator Compendium here.

The Parties to the WHO FCTC have not adopted guidelines for the implementation of the Article 20.

Parties’ implementation of Article 20

In 2017, the Knowledge Hub carried out a desk survey of the implementation of Article 20 by the FCTC Parties. The desk study utilized Parties’ reports from the 2016 reporting cycle. The study made note of Parties’ achievements and areas for further improvement. A series of graphs were produced for the study report to show how the Parties had reported the implementation of Article 20.

In terms of the progress, half of the responding Parties provided a brief description of the progress they have made since the last reporting cycle. The types of progress reported include continued long-term work, legislative and organizational changes in high-income economies, development of surveys or research particularly in middle-income economies and improved participation in exchange of information in low-income economies.

With regard to prevalence surveys, the study found out that high-income economies tend to conduct more independent national surveys, while lower income economies are more reliant on international programs. The most commonly conducted international surveys are also frequently mentioned in Parties’ plans for the future.

All in all, the study’s findings emphasize the need for strengthened action and support for national tobacco surveillance especially in low- and middle-income countries among the Parties to the WHO FCTC.

The report of the desk study is available here.