Jun 2, 2015

JUNE 2, 2015

Greetings and Acknowledgements

Dr. Sonia Copeland, Director, Health Promotion and Protection Branch of the Ministry of Health
Hon. Dr Fenton Ferguson, Minister of Health
Dr Adriana Blanco, Regional Advisor on Tobacco
Dr Kam Mung, PAHO/WHO, Officer in Charge and Other UN Colleagues
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, including the members of the Media

A very good morning to all of you. I am delighted to be here with you at this important consultation on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
Tobacco use alone costs the world 1-2% of its GDP each year. It is of key concern to SIDS. In the Caribbean, tobacco accounts for 10% of all deaths; in Kiribati, two out of every three adult males use tobacco daily. In fact, it is not surprising that UN Member States have taken the message to heart and have committed to accelerate implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The Framework Convention underscores that the globalization of tobacco related epidemics is a result of many factors, including transnational tobacco advertising and promotion.

As we are all aware that Jamaica has implemented the Public Health (Tobacco Control) Regulations (July 15, 2013) that prohibit smoking in public places. The introduction and implementation of Tobacco Control Legislation is a key action under Vision 2030 Jamaica – it’s National Development Plan. It supports the national strategy of strengthening health promotion as a precursor to ensuring a Healthy and Stable Population.

Tobacco is one risk factor common to four main groups of Non Communicable Diseases. In the Caribbean deaths from NCDs are five times greater than deaths from other diseases. In this region, NCDs account for 65% of the burden of diseases. In Jamaica NCDs account for almost 70 percent of deaths in the island and they have been the leading cause of death in the country now for over three decades. In fact, the outcome document of the FCTC includes a key commitment for countries to set up national targets on NCDs, such as the target to reduce tobacco use prevalence by 30%. It goes on to say that tobacco taxes can play a large role in attaining such targets, and should be in place at the country level by 2015.

The drivers of NCDs are developmental in nature. The UN is very supportive of the efforts to implement the Political Declaration of the 2011 UN High-level Meeting on NCDs, which called for the accelerated implementation of the FCTC, and the outcome document of the Rio+20 Conference which for the first time put NCDs and communicable diseases on the same footing. These follow a letter to UN resident coordinators and WHO resident representatives signed by UNDP Administrator UNDG Chairman Helen Clark and WHO DG Margaret Chan, requesting that UN agencies plan together on NCDs, including FCTC implementation. And UNDP is proud to have been designated as lead agency to help countries align their policies with obligations under the Framework Convention.

Currently, many of PAHO’s activities including that support Jamaica’s implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control are not reflected in the current UNDAF.
We are accordingly working closely with PAHO to include these objectives in the current United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for Jamaica, which ends in 2016. As you are aware, the UNDAF is an expression of the United Nations system’s continuing commitment to and cooperation with the government and people of Jamaica.
The post 2015 development agenda reflected through the Sustainable Development Goals is an opportunity to ensure that good health is recognized as an opportunity to achieve sustainable development progress. The Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals has proposed a goal for this next agenda be to “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” (Goal 3). Under that goal, the document proposes a target of a one-third reduction in premature mortality from NCDs, through prevention and treatment, by 2030.

SIDS have been a powerful and articulate exponents of the health, developmental, and political impacts of NCDs on their peoples, and the need to prioritize tackling the drivers of these diseases in the new global agenda.

The UN and UNDP are poised to support a strengthened inter-agency approach to implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The UN in the English and Dutch speaking Caribbean countries is in the process of developing a multi-country UNDAF for 2017-2021. This is an opportunity for all of us to work together to ensure that we take steps to reduce the NCD burden currently plaguing these countries. Serendipitously, the Government of Jamaica has recommended that the United Nations must begin to initiate steps to work towards Delivering as One. We look forward to the outcome of this stakeholder consultation that can contribute to advancing this important agenda in an integrative manner.

I wish you very productive consultations.
Thank you.

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