VALD Draft Communiqu?? For COP6

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Mr Labram Musah, Programme Director of VALD

The Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has drafted a communiqu?? for the Ghana group to be presented at the Sixth Conference of the Parties (COP6).

Mr Labram Musah, Programme Director of VALDThe COP is a by-annual conference of the 178 Parties (countries) that had ratified the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

The COP6 would be taking place in October 13 to October 18, in Moscow, Russia.

The Parties are enjoined to take administrative, legislative and any other means to curb the incidence and hazards of smoking.

Ghana endorsed the Convention in 2004.

Mr Labram Musah, Programme Director of VALD, made this known at a day?s media training workshop organised by the NGO in Accra on Thursday.

The training was to enhance and strengthen the knowledge base of journalists on the FCTC and the COP for effective tobacco control reportage in both Ghana and the international arena.

Mr Musah said the VALD is calling for the establishment of an expert group to give Parties the guidance to speed up the implementation of Article 5.3 of the FCTC on best practices, concrete experiences, tools and barriers.

The experts should mandate the Secretariat of the Parties to address ongoing and evolving strategies of the tobacco industry interference in inter-governmental organisations.

He said they should urge and support the Parties to adopt policies in line with the Article 5.3 guidelines at all levels of government, giving emphasis on tobacco industry interference in diplomatic missions.

Mr Musah said the VALD is recommending for a working expert group composed of the Parties within the confines of Article 19 of the FCTC as a tool for effective tobacco control.

?This group should have full participation of the existing experts and additional criminal and international expertise needed; complete research into the remaining areas, including criminal liability and options for international liability.

?Elaborate guidelines including model laws which will provide the Parties with the necessary guidance and tools to advance Article 19 implementation,? the VALD suggested.

VALD proposed that the Parties should adopt Secretariat?s recommendations to safeguard FCTC meetings from tobacco industry infiltration by creating a screening process to vet applicants for public credentials in advance of COPs.

?Change the rules of procedure to include the option of open sessions,? the VALD said.

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