Fifth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (COP5)

On 12–17 November the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) will hold its fifth session (COP5) in Seoul, Republic of Korea, at the COEX Convention and Exhibition Center.

The COP is the central organ and governing body of the Convention and will be meeting for the fifth time since the treaty entered into force in February 2005. The previous sessions were held in Geneva (February 2006); Bangkok, Thailand (June–July 2007); Durban, South Africa (November 2008); and Punta del Este, Uruguay (November 2010). The number of Parties to the Convention has grown steadily over the years, from the 40 parties that brought the treaty into force in 2005, to 113 at the first session of COP in 2006, and 176 as of today.

The COP is set to review and further promote implementation of the Convention. A global progress report proposed by the Secretariat based on the implementation reports of the Parties has been submitted to the COP in this regard and will be discussed on the opening day of COP5, Monday 12th November.

In another important development, a protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products is expected to be adopted at COP5. Once adopted, it will be the first protocol to the WHO FCTC and an international treaty in itself.

Other highlights of COP5 include: guidelines on price and tax measures to reduce the demand for tobacco, policy recommendations with regard to economically viable alternatives to tobacco growing, matters related to smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes, as well as a review of resources and mechanisms of assistance to promote implementation of the Convention.

Overall, the agenda of the six-day session includes topics related to treaty instruments to promote implementation, reporting arrangements, implementation assistance and international cooperation, as well as several budgetary and institutional matters, including the adoption of the next COP budget for 2014–2015.

As the Convention enters its eighth year, we look forward to welcoming Delegates to review achievements realized, progress made, and challenges still to be addressed in implementation, and to further promote this landmark instrument, the first international treaty in public health. The Secretariat has prepared the Conference in close cooperation with the hosts, the Republic of Korea, and will extend its support to all delegations for a successful Conference.