WHO FCTC celebration at the United Nations in New York

On World No Tobacco Day (31 May), the Permanent Missions of Norway, Thailand and Uruguay to the United Nations hosted a luncheon at United Nations headquarters in New York to celebrate the WHO FCTC. As a curtain-raiser for the United Nations General Assembly High-level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases, scheduled for 19–20 September 2011, the event focused on tobacco use as the leading preventable cause of death.

The speakers at the event were: Commissioner Marjorie Tiven, representing Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City; Patricia Lambert, Framework Convention Alliance, Director of the International Legal Consortium which is part of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids; Professor Prabhat Jha, University of Toronto Chair in Disease Control; and Dr Haik Nikogosian, Head of the Convention Secretariat.

H.E. Mr Joseph Deiss, President of the United Nations General Assembly, also participated and made closing remarks. He stated, inter alia, that international cooperation and coordination for implementation are major features of the WHO FCTC. One important area to follow up in this regard, Mr Deiss said, was the integration of the Convention into the United Nations Development Assistance Framework at the country level and as part of a single United Nations strategy. He noted that the Secretary-General had called for this to be done in his report of the previous year to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and echoed that call. The integration of the Convention into country programmes and activities would, he added, help to make a difference on the ground. In the context of the upcoming High-level meeting on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases, the President of the General Assembly said that the WHO FCTC is an important prevention tool and could provide useful lessons in the prevention of other diseases. He called on all stakeholders to engage constructively to make the High-level Meeting a milestone in the fight against noncommunicable diseases, including tobacco-related illnesses.