Yet another murky WHO meeting

Copwatch has often referred to the opaque nature of the WHO’s Conference of the Parties meetings. It is fully expected that the COP10 meeting in Panama will follow the same path of operating behind closed doors, as best described in this briefing from 2021.

“Also excluded are advocacy NGOs representing people directly affected by tobacco control regimes. This includes smokers and users of safer nicotine products. The involvement of the tobacco industry in the production of some but by no means all safer nicotine products means that advocacy organisations in favour of tobacco harm reduction, including numerous vaping or snus consumer advocacy organisations, are excluded de facto.”

The shadowy and forever hidden activities of the Global Tobacco Regulators Forum (GTRF) have also been documented on these pages. Most recently in April

“A small group of researchers, who are not keen on tobacco harm reduction, cherry-picking studies which agree with their preconceived beliefs, and citing unpublished papers from a small selection of WHO members resulting from secret meetings which are not minuted, all funded by a country which is not a Party to the Convention.”

Minutes from the last two FCTC Bureau meetings in November and March have still not surfaced either, as Copwatch has reported before

Now we must add yet another murky WHO meeting to the ever-growing list. 

The UN event management system carries a short notice about an event called the Global Consultation on Novel and Emerging Nicotine and Tobacco Products which is to take place in Geneva between 21 and 23 June. There is no further publicly available information about this meeting. We can assume though that this event is highly likely to be a preparation for COP10 and the work the WHO and the FCTC Secretariat are doing to recommend the full equalisation of all novel products with cigarettes in reports to be presented to the Parties. 

Framed as a consultation, Copwatch expects the result will be dedicated publications, such as these on heated tobacco and vaping products which were issued after a global consultations led by the EURO WHO region before the last COP. 

No-one outside of the WHO FCTC bubble will be allowed to view this latest secret meeting, nor do we expect to see published minutes. 

The WHO website contains a page on transparency, which confidently declares: 

“To build trust, communicators must be transparent about how WHO analyses data and how it makes recommendations and policies.

“Communicators must rapidly and publicly report the participants, processes and conclusions of guideline development meetings.”

Presumably, this is their idea of a joke.