DAY ONE UPDATE #7 AT 18.20 CET
Debate is in a deadlock over a draft decision on the deferral of decisions to COP10 written by the FCTC Bureau. It includes wording that would allow the Bureau discretion to expand the remit of an expert working group which could mean dragging novel and emerging products into articles of the FCTC that they have no business being in. Some Parties are being persuaded by the Bureau to support their land grab but others argue that not only should no substantive discussion take place, but also no decisions of this kind should be made on the current incomplete and preliminary WHO reports, and that discretion should remain with the Parties, not the Bureau.
It seems clear discussions will be deferred to COP10, but what form those discussions will take and what products the discussions will be about is effectively being decided here.
No final decision is expected tonight as Parties will most likely discuss further amongst themselves and their regional groups.
Join us for more live updates on day 2 tomorrow.
sCOPe live is streaming 24 hours a day throughout this COP week, so do visit their YouTube channel to catch some of that.
DAY ONE UPDATE #6 AT 16.00 CET
- Parties are still discussing wording of a potential draft decision to adopt the provisional agenda, including the recommendations of the Bureau to:
- defer substantive discussions on novel and emerging products to COP10 along with items identified for deferral in pre-COP documents
- note the reports provided for information and defer discussion and decisions on those to COP10
- extend the mandate of the current expert Working Group with a view to discussing an updated report at COP10
In particular, debate surrounds whether or not to maintain the terms of reference contained in a decision made at COP8. It is being driven by the desire of the Bureau to be in charge of the ‘apparent’ expert group, a group that has shown itself to be extremely biased against novel products. The Bureau is rallying countries to support its efforts to grab authority over the work plan for the expert group, despite the fact that it should be determined by the COP – the national governments.
2. FCTC JOURNAL N° 1 – Monday 8 November 2021 was published earlier, this includes the expected schedule for the day, and links to documents.
3. Clive Bates has just published a new blog on access and exclusion at COP9. It features a side by side comparison with the approach taken by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The WHO tobacco control treaty meetings are closed bubbles of cultivated groupthink – a comparison with the UN climate change treaty
DAY ONE UPDATE #5 AT 13.20 CET
Discussion for 1.1: We are hearing that Parties are debating amendments to the omnibus decision, that would ensure that substantive discussions on novel and emerging nicotine products are deferred to COP10. The Secretariat is proposing that the mandates for expert groups 9 and 10 are extended.
Proceedings have taken a break with no decision yet taken.
Discussion of the Bureau’s recommendations for which groups should be allowed in as Observers will follow.
DAY ONE UPDATE #4 AT 12.25 CET
We are hearing that the meeting may not even be quorate, because attendee numbers are so low.
The president of the conference of the parties Mr Esmaeil Baghaei Hamameh opened proceedings with a statement that you can view on this page: https://fctc.who.int/who-fctc/governance/conference-of-the-parties/ninth-session-of-the-conference-of-the-parties
He stated that “although the technology on which we rely at this time is not always kind to us, I promise you that we will use every means to ensure that technical nuances rob no-one of their voice”
Although this would appear to be a commitment to openness and transparency, there has been no option for the public to make their voice heard, and we now hear that the press feed has been cut, so accredited media are no longer able to view proceedings.
The Framework Convention Alliance has published its daily bulletin which states that “substantive discussions will be deferred to an in-person COP10, and rightly so”. Parties should ensure that this does, indeed, happen. View the bulletin here: https://fctc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/COP9-Bulletin_Day-1_8NOV21.pdf
And, Christopher Snowdon writes:
“The WHO’s secretive international tobacco conference COP9 starts today, online only and with the public barred from watching, let alone participating. COPWATCH will be doing its utmost to find out what’s going on. Keep an eye on it.”
DAY ONE UPDATE #3 AT 11.40 CET
One of the video statements posted at the weekend was from Korea, and looks to be suggesting substantive discussions should take place on reduced risk products at COP9.
They propose to “Expand the definition of tobacco products, stipulated in the article 1F of the WHO FCTC, which does not include tobacco products manufactured from tobacco stems, woods, and synthetic nicotine, etc., to proper regulate novel and emerging tobacco products.”
This means Korea expects COP9 to serve as a starting point for discussions on expanding the definition of tobacco products. It is important that other Parties adhere to the FCTC Secretariat recommendation to postpone discussions until COP10 so that Korea’s proposal will fail.
Watch the Korea statement below.
DAY ONE UPDATE#2 AT 11.00 CET
To give you a flavour of the diverse range of opinions towards tobacco harm reduction that will be taken to COP9 by the Parties, the FCTC has been publishing short video statements from Health Ministers of countries which will be sending delegations.
The Good – UK: “We will continue to move smokers to less harmful products, including NRTs and regulated e-cigarettes, under robust regulatory framework to prevent young people and non-smokers from using them”
The Bad – European Commission: “”We will update the Council Recommendation on Smoke-Free Environments to take account of novel products.”
The Ugly! – Brazil: “Industry reinventing itself through new products such as electronic cigarettes, heated tobacco cigarettes, and vaporizing instruments targeting young people.”
DAY ONE #1
Welcome to COP WATCH LIVE. This is the first in a series of articles we are running every day this week, to bring you news and views on #COP9FCTC. We will be reporting on what we can discover about what is going on in this secretive meeting and also highlighting some of the unofficial fringe events.
We will bring you updates throughout the day, so do keep checking back here.
What do we expect from the first day of #COP9?
The Preliminary Journal, published on 26 October, suggests that this morning will see whether the Bureau’s recommendations for who is granted or denied Observer status are accepted. This is important for tobacco harm reduction supporters because consumer groups INNCO and NNA UK had both applied for Observer status, and the Bureau had recommended rejection of their applications – see this document. You will notice that there are 5 possible reasons for denying Observer status, but the Bureau has not specified which reason applies to which organisation. Will the Parties do the right thing this morning, and allow the key stakeholders in?
More on transparency – the Preliminary Journal also indicates that the “provisional list of participants will be available and posted on the WHO FCTC website”. Bizarrely, although tax payers worldwide fund this conference we have to wait until it starts to find out who will be representing us there.
COP9 documents, including the provisional agenda, are all here:
INNCO is holding an event in Parliament Square, in the UK, from 10am GMT – link for Facebook event.