This statement is submitted by IOGT International supported by the NCD Alliance and World Obesity Federation, NCD Child and the World Cancer Research Fund International.
Effective NCD prevention and control faces particular challenges. The 2018 HLM on NCDs must be recognized as a low point for interference by health-harmful industries, especially in the areas of nutrition and alcohol.
We recognize the pressure which WHO is currently under with regard to securing financial sustainability. While FENSA is not seen as a fence, we reiterate that it is a firewall, and as such essential to protect WHO’s recognized normative role and ensure that unhealthy commodity interests never undermine WHO’s duty to serve the underserved and protect the vulnerable.
We seek assurances that WHO will prioritize safeguards protecting its policies, norms and standards from interference by any form of real, perceived or potential conflict of interest in developing its external relations strategy and strategy for engagement with health-harmful industries.
With regard to the report (EB144/36, paragraphs 4 and 11 in particular), we request increased transparency. Whilst several academic and civil society entities are identified by name as entities engaging with WHO, private sector stakeholders are not identified in several instances. We request this be rectified. We also note that bilateral meetings with certain industries of concern to NCDs, notably alcohol and food and beverage, whilst mentioned in other documents presented to the EB (including EB144/20), are not mentioned in this report.
As mentioned under other discussion points, we request clear assurances that WHO and member states will never engage with the tobacco industry, or their front groups, in any of their guises, as stipulated in the FCTC.