Subregional meeting on scaling up of implementation of the WHO FCTC in south-eastern European countries

18–20 November 2015, Tirana, Albania

The burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) represents one of the predominant health challenges in south-eastern European (SEE) countries. One of the main areas to be addressed is full implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which has already been ratified by all SEE countries. Although 10 years have passed since the Treaty entered into force (in 2005), implementation of its provisions remains relatively weak for a number of reasons.

Scaling up implementation of the WHO FCTC and MPOWER measures

Strategic support for SEE countries in tobacco control will be strengthened in the coming years, especially for scaling up implementation of the WHO FCTC and MPOWER measures. To kick off, a WHO subregional meeting will be convened on 18–20 November 2015 in Tirana, Albania to discuss the current situation of tobacco control in the SEE countries and agree upon a plan of activities. The participants will be delegates from the countries that are members of the SEE Health Network (SEEHN) plus Slovenia, representatives from the WHO FCTC and WHO as well as international consultants.

To facilitate full implementation of the WHO FCTC, WHO introduced MPOWER. These measures are intended to assist country-level implementation of interventions that are effective for reducing the demand for tobacco (contained in the WHO FCTC.) The six components of MPOWER are to:

  • monitor tobacco use and prevention policies,
  • protect people from tobacco smoke,
  • offer help in quitting tobacco use,
  • provide warnings about the dangers of tobacco, 
  • enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and
  • raise taxes on tobacco.

Making tobacco a thing of the past

The 2013 Ashgabat Declaration on the prevention and control of NCDs in the context of Health 2020 voices the commitment of European countries to work towards full implementation of the WHO FCTC in the Region and to achieve the voluntary global target for tobacco use by 2025. The Roadmap of actions to strengthen implementation of the WHO FCTC in the European Region 2015–2025: making tobacco a thing of the past envisions a WHO European Region that is free of tobacco-related morbidity, mortality and addiction – in short, a region where tobacco is a thing of the past.

Background

The SEEHN is a political and institutional forum set up by the governments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to promote peace, reconciliation and health in the region. In 2011, Israel became the 10th member of the Network. Within a tobacco control project supported by the Norwegian Government, a number of tobacco control activities were initiated in 2005–2006 in all SEEHN Member States.