No place for farmers at CoP meetings

| November 15, 2016

Tobacco farmers have been told that they simply don’t belong at international meetings called, in part, to decide their futures, according to a story by Christopher Bickers in the [US] Tobacco Farmer Newsletter.

A delegation of tobacco growers from six countries, including the US, traveled to Greater Noida, India, last week to be part of demonstrations organized by the International Tobacco Growers’ Association (ITGA) to coincide with the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

Asked why tobacco farmers had never been involved in the ratification process, the head of the FCTC secretariat, Vera da Costa e Silva, reportedly said they didn’t belong there.

“I have seen the tobacco farmers, and they always try to manipulate,” she was quoted as saying.

“Even if they are brought on table, they are not on the table and always think about the profits.

“[Also] they bribe.

“So sometimes it’s difficult to actually let them participate.”

Journalists are barred from attending the secretive meetings of the CoP but, according to an Associated Press report, delegates vowed, as they apparently have on other occasions, to promote alternative livelihoods for tobacco farmers that would ensure a better future for them.

Delegates pledged to hold big tobacco companies liable for the health consequences of their products, to recover health care costs and to facilitate access to justice for victims of tobacco-related diseases

And they vowed to protect public health policies from being influenced by tobacco companies and to prohibit or regulate the sale of electronic cigarettes.

The CoP was held in India on November 7-12.

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