INNCO converged on Geneva to attend the COP8 this week. Our application for observer status was in limbo as we had not been advised of the decision hence we applied for entry via public gallery.

Despite the process for public access being changed the previous night at 11:30pm, the advocates were able to gain entry to the public gallery.

In summary:
  • Grasping for financial support takes precedence over Public health
  • Open and Transparent does not mean public accountability.
  • Tobacco Harm Elimination (quit or die) over Tobacco Harm Reduction (industry construct)

Tomas O’Gorman of ProVapeo Mexico said “... being there in the public gallery was not enough, INNCO should have been granted the observer status. We needed to share our experiences to the delegates, to show them that we are not just a number in statistics or charts, we are real people and they are deciding about our lives. Smokers deserve to have safer alternatives, and COP keeps denying them that right”.

Nancy Sutthoff, President of the Governing Board said afterwards “It was appalling to sit there for three hours and listen to them drone on about how they needed ‘protection from industry influence’ as if they were being bullied and needed protection when they themselves are being the bullies with their ‘my way or the highway’ opinions on what individuals understand and implement in choices on their own well being and those of their families.”

The most appalling incident was when the video cut out on the live feed just as the delegates were voting on whether to reject INNCO’s application for inclusion as an observer to the proceedings. Kim Dabelstein Petersen of DADAFO (Denmark) said “not only was the video glitch an example of lack of transparency but also proof as to why non partisan interested parties need to be present during the proceedings to guarantee democratic process and transparency.”

At the time of this release a little over half the 2018 COP 8 is finished. So far only 2.53 hours from Monday and 1.44 from Tuesday has been uploaded on the official FCTC COP 8 website for scrutiny and reporting.

We feel that the transparency discussions that would have left an opening for countries to talk openly about INNCO civil society rights to observe at the COP8 was eliminated with a promise of 100% plenary uploads with only a 3 minute delay.

It now seems clear that this was never an option or never the intention from the Secretariat. We believe this was a ruse to steer attention away from the fact that banning the public and INNCO organisation would make real transparency practically zero. The failure to upload the plenary sessions for outside scrutiny as agreed and promised, for whatever reason, makes transparency an absolute zero.

WHO FCTC and Tobacco Control will clearly only accept zero input from civil society and 1.4 billion consumers worldwide. This is totally unacceptable according to treaty law, International Law, UN-WHO ecosystem working principles and makes a cruel joke of the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

17 of 36 civil society grassroot CSO-NGOs who were present in Geneva to represent their organisations who are in compliance with 5.3 and ruled by a democratic General Assembly say to the FCTC and Parties:

NEVER AGAIN! - NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US!

HARM REDUCTION IS A HUMAN RIGHT!


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