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CAPHRA Challenges WHO And FCTC To Enhance Engagement With Civil Society And Consumer Groups

The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) today sent the ‘Western Pacific Declaration’ that was signed by 117 leading individuals at the Asia Harm Reduction Forum in Manila last month to the new Regional Director of WHO Western Pacific’s Regional Office.

The Declaration calls for a shift towards more transparent, inclusive, and collaborative decision-making processes.

“CAPHRA and the signatories of the Western Pacific Declaration urge the WHO and FCTC to enhance transparency in their decision-making processes. 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,” said Nancy Loucas, a public health policy expert and passionate advocate for tobacco harm reduction and executive coordinator of CAPHRA.

“Consumers across the Western Pacific Region, and globally are questioning why these basic principles of good governance are not being adhered to,” said Ms Loucas.

“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.”

“Consumers are demanding the WHO and FCTC to actively address the concerns of civil society and consumer groups, questioning why the impact of tobacco control measures on different communities, and the need for harm reduction strategies, are not being adequately addressed,” said Ms Loucas.

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CAPHRA advocates for the establishment of collaborative partnerships between the WHO, FCTC, and civil society and consumer groups. The organisation challenges 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.

“Consumers are also questioning why there are not regular updates on the progress of initiatives, opportunities for feedback and input, and responses to concerns or questions”.

Finally, CAPHRA urges the WHO and FCTC to engage stakeholders in setting research priorities. The organisation challenges the WHO and FCTC to explain why the research agenda does not align with the needs and concerns of civil society and consumer groups.

“CAPHRA believes that by implementing these strategies, as well as addressing the demands in the Declaration, the WHO and FCTC can enhance their engagement with civil society and consumer groups, leading to more effective and inclusive tobacco control policies and initiatives. The organisation calls on the WHO and FCTC to explain why they are not doing this,” Ms Loucas said.

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