In the past two and half years, ASH has been working to ensure that tobacco control is included in the new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals are being created to set countries’ development agendas for the next 15 years.
In the expiring UN Millennium Development Goals, tobacco control and NCDs were left out. And the global tobacco control community felt those repercussions, as there were scarce resources allocated at the national level for tobacco control programs.
We simply could not let this happen again! ASH has been advocating at the UN to guarantee that tobacco control and NCDs will be a development priority for countries this time around.
We are happy to report some good news!
Last week, the draft SDGs were not edited during the latest round of discussions! Why is that good news? Because, last July, the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development finalized their draft for the new SDGs, and the legally-binding WHO treaty on tobacco control (the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the FCTC) was included! With every round of edits, there is a chance that tobacco control and NCDs will lose their prime location in the future of global development plans.
The OWG’s proposal for the SDGs is the result of nearly two years of global negotiations. Because of the extensive amount of time and effort put into these negotiations by the OWG, UN member states are reluctant to reopen the text, as they fear it may unravel the entire framework. Although it is not completely impossible that the text could be changed, it is very unlikely.
We encourage UN member states to move forward with the current draft of the SDGs, and we encourage the public health and tobacco control communities to start planning and strategizing ways to effectively use the SDGs to advance tobacco control and FCTC implementation in their own countries.
The SDG framework, including the new goals and targets, will be finalized at the UN General Assembly this September in New York.
ASH will continue to monitor the events at the UN and to advocate for the inclusion of tobacco control and NCDs in the SDGs, as well as in the indicator development process and the Financing for Development process, both of which have already mentioned tobacco control in their draft proposals.