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CEPHRA Calls For Greater Transparencey And Engagement From FCTC Officials

The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) is expressing deep concern over the lack of response and willingness to engage with civil society and consumer advocacy groups by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

“CAPHRA, an alliance of Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates in the Asia Pacific region, is calling for governments to demand transparency and openness from WHO FCTC officials,” ,” said Nancy Loucas, a public health policy expert and passionate advocate for tobacco harm reduction and executive coordinator of CAPHRA.

This call comes in the wake of the Western Pacific Declaration sent to the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office, which has yet to receive a response.

"CAPHRA and the signatories of the Western Pacific Declaration urge the WHO and FCTC to enhance transparency in their decision-making processes,” said Ms Loucas, adding “This includes providing clear and accessible information about their decisions, sharing meeting agendas, minutes, and decisions in a timely manner, and ensuring that the rationale behind decisions is clearly communicated”.

The organisation is also raising concerns about the lack of transparency and openness for country regulators who attend WHO FCTC COP meetings and who are representatives of an elected government in a democracy.

"The declaration calls for the inclusion of all relevant stakeholders in discussions and decision-making processes. CAPHRA challenges the WHO and FCTC to explain why representatives from civil society and consumer groups are not invited to participate in meetings and consultations, and why their input is not considered when making decisions," Loucas added.

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CAPHRA is advocating for the establishment of collaborative partnerships between the WHO, FCTC, and civil society and consumer groups. The organisation is challenging the WHO and FCTC to explain why they are not working together with these groups on specific projects or initiatives, sharing resources and expertise, and jointly advocating for policy changes.

"CAPHRA urges the WHO and FCTC to engage stakeholders in setting research priorities. Consumers are questioning why there are not regular updates on the progress of initiatives, opportunities for feedback and input, and responses to concerns or questions," Loucas concluded.

In response to the exclusion from discussions and decision-making processes that directly impact consumer health and rights, CAPHRA has developed the SCOPE livestream event. This consumer-focused livestream, available on CAPHRA's website and YouTube channel, provides a platform for advocates to discuss safer options for adults and to voice their concerns.

"CAPHRA's SCOPE livestream is a testament to our commitment to ensuring that the voices of consumers are heard. We invite everyone to join the conversation and learn more about our advocacy for tobacco harm reduction," Loucas said.

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