Friday, 24 October 2014

COP-6: What happened to FCA behind those closed doors?

This photo was taken on the 13th.
The next day the media was thrown out. 
On Saturday we got the final wording on the decision on ENDS from COP-6. On Clive Bates' blog you can see Professor Gerry Stimson's reaction to this, as well as follow the evolution of this statement (have a look at the bottom of the post on Clive's blog). I don't see the need to elaborate to much on what I think of decision from COP-6, as I've written a good deal about this earlier when WHO's report on ENDS prior to COP-6 was published, and I also agree fully what professor Stimson writes in his post.

To me the whole COP-6 was a farce, with the WHO closing the doors completely, making sure they avoid any critical voices raised as they made their decisions. The event wasn't streamed, not much info got out on the internet during the event, and the WHO threw out the public, the media and even the Interpol (http://goo.gl/ddLfGC)... and all principles of transparency along with them. One has to start wondering what the WHO is hiding? How on earth are we supposed to trust the WHO when they do this, with just some lame excuse that there might be representatives from the tobacco industry observing? So what, they are not making the decisions, only observing, right? So what they are signalling by this is that their decision making will be affected by the tobacco lobby just being there? Then they are clearly not the right people for the job they're set to do if you ask me.

Margaret Chan on COP-6
It doesn't make it better that their Director-General, Margaret Chan, misleads the public to believe that she's using all her time to fight Ebola, when she in fact is in Moscow (http://goo.gl/WCxfa1) delivering opening remarks at COP-6, at expense of a speech about the Ebola pandemic. And her reasoning for this makes it even worse: “I can’t be a single-issue director-general. I don’t want people to think I spend all of my time on Ebola.” Ehm... say what? Is this for real? This is the leader of UN's health agency, WHO, faced with one of the biggest health emergencies of this century, and she DOESN'T want people to think she's spending all her time on it? Now, even if she was only in Moscow for the opening remarks and maybe some photos, I think this show a total lack of judgement and common sense, and I don't see how we can trust an organization that makes such priorities.

So, back to the topic: What did actually happen behind those closed doors in Moscow last week? Especially, what happened to the FCA? Before the meeting they published a statement on ENDS that showed their position was in sharp contrast to WHO and their report. From their own bulletin from day 2 of COP-6 (http://goo.gl/hU3awS) you can also see that this position was presented there. But now... they're urging governments to implement the ridiculous guidelines mentioned at the top of this post as soon as possible (http://goo.gl/yqaocd). To be fair, they don't mention ENDS in that last statement at all, but they are not excluding them either: "Decisions made this week in Moscow will save hundreds of millions of lives if governments work to implement them immediately." So, what are they saying now then? "Forget what we said last time, the WHO was right and those principles we suggested earlier (http://goo.gl/oUX8sK)... that was just something we said, but we don't see any reason to make a fuzz about the WHO flushing them down the drain."

So, what do I think happened behind the closed doors in Moscow? I'm not really sure to be honest, but I am certain that from WHO's point of view it was the right thing to do. A picture of Margaret Chan beating the FCA with a baseball bat before surgically removing their balls keeps popping up in my head.

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