«UNITED NATIONS AD HOC INTER-AGENCY TASK FORCE ON TOBACCO CONTROL REPORT OF THE SIXTH SESSION GENEVA, SWITZERLAND 30 NOVEMBER - 1 DECEMBER 2005 1. ...»
The Analysis Work File (AWF) Smoke program began in April, 2005, and joins customs and police from some 26 countries in Europe and the USA. Eurojust, SECI-Center, World Customs Organisation, OLAF and the UN-WHO have expressed their full support for the project. The AWF's objectives include: to create a centralised service to which investigation teams contribute high-quality operational data from live investigations; to process and analyse this data quickly and effectively to allow the dissemination of analytical reports which describe the criminal networks involved in smuggling, counterfeiting and illegal manufacturing of cigarettes and other tobacco products in the European Union; to identify the key individuals within the criminal networks, and to reveal the modus operandi in each case, in such a way as to detect and subsequently deprive the criminals from their illicit proceeds of crime. Organized crime is particularly involved in tobacco fraud and expands into other areas from its tobacco revenues. It has been found for example that tobacco fraud has funded terrorist activities.
Activities of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) in combating illicit trade in tobacco products (Mr Ian Walton) Mr Walton, OLAF, explained that the role of OLAF is the protection of the financial interests of the Community against all frauds and irregularities affecting the revenue and expenditure of the Community Budget. Tobacco smuggling has a major impact on the revenue of the Member States and the Community. There has been a huge increase in production and smuggling of counterfeit cigarettes and reinforced cooperation is needed to combat the problem. The participant spoke of the Anti-Contraband and AntiCounterfeit Agreement between the European Community, certain Member States and Philip Morris International: a comprehensive anti-smuggling and anti-money-laundering system for PM products before and after distribution. It requires: 1) supplemental payments of up to 500% of duties and taxes due on smuggled genuine PM Cigarettes seized in the future; 2) compliance Protocols to protect against smuggling and money laundering; and 3) tracking and tracing Protocols to assist law-enforcement authorities to prevent future smuggling. However, it is not enough to have an agreement with only one manufacturer. A more global solution is needed, at European or world level. The WHO’s FCTC is a vehicle for progress in this regard. A Protocol on Tracking and Tracing, based on provisions of the Agreement with PMI, would be a major positive step.
Activities of the World Customs Organization in combating illicit trade in tobacco products (Mr Giorgio Sincovich) Mr Sincovich, RILO-WCO, described the work of WCO through its central, regional (RILO) and national (NCP) offices. The WCO collects information (number of seizures, quantities seized around the globe) from its different offices which feed in their database.
Among its main activities, WCO assists its Member countries in their daily risk assessments, intelligence work and training. The WCO also prepares analytical reports on smuggling in different products, including tobacco. In 2005 WCO published its Customs and Tobacco reports intended for officials only. Some data from the report were summarized. Between 2003 and 2004 seizure in smuggled tobacco products increased mainly in Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific whereas it decreased in Western Europe and South America. In terms of quantity seized, the quantity increased as well in Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific and slightly in Western Europe and it decreased in the other regions of the world. However, globally, the seizures in smoking tobacco increased fourfold between 2003 and 2004 and seizures in counterfeit cigarettes almost doubled between 2002 and 2004.
OLAF observed that contacts and cooperation with the tobacco industry should be handled cautiously; governments should not cooperate with them through backdoor means or via voluntary memoranda which cannot be enforced. It is important to be tough with them and negotiate binding agreements which contain strong financial incentives.
Philip Morris, under the terms of the agreement with the European Community, has already made annual payments of about 400 million US$. The Agreement foresees two different types of payments: there is a series of 13 payments over 12 years which in total amount to 1 billion $; and then there are individual payments whenever there is a seizure of genuine PM cigarettes over a certain amount. The 400 million $ received is part of the series of annual payments (not in relation to seizures).Regarding tackling counterfeit, the representative suggested that officials could look at the materials used for the production of such products and have cooperative agreements with the producers of those products to identify and prevent any sales which might fall into the hands of counterfeiters.
WCO noted that counterfeit cigarettes mainly come from the Asian Pacific region but the phenomenon exists also in eastern and central Europe and South America. WCO collects data on seizure from countries such as China but they are not nominal (exact place and date of seizure) because WCO's aim is not operational, it is different from that of EUROPOL and OLAF. Customs are not forced to give data, data is given on a voluntary basis which may lead to insufficient information provided. There is a need for capacity building as well for the national administration collecting such information and providing them to WCO.
WHO noted that if Parties of the WHO FCTC wish to move forward on a protocol on illicit trade, WHO will contact the specialized agencies for input for the preparation of a background document.
10. Tobacco control and the tobacco industry Overview of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities of the tobacco industry (Ms Stella Bialous) Stella Bialous, TFI, spoke of how, with a change in the social environment and in the face of an increased demand for accountability, tobacco companies were pursuing a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy. She quotes the ITC (Indian Tobacco Company) website on so-called Corporate Citizenship: “As a responsible corporate citizen, ITC promotes art, culture and education, besides working for the protection and enrichment of the environment and overall social development.” Activities of the tobacco companies have ranged from assistance to the elderly in Romania, to restoration of the Historic Garden Railings of St. Petersburg. Other activities such as Youth Smoking Prevention Programs are at best ineffective, and at worst deceitful. The main problem with these programs, it was pointed out is that the unique feature of tobacco products -- which kill their consumers when used as directed by the manufacturer -- renders the ongoing operations of the tobacco companies incompatible with the very notion of Corporate Social Responsibility. She concludes that tobacco industry and health promotion goals are mutually exclusive: no partnership is possible and the unequal balance of power and skills don’t make the foundation for true partnerships.
Summary of the activities of the International Standardization Organization (ISO) working group on CSR (Ms Marta Seoane) Ms Marta Seoane, TFI, made a presentation on ISO 26000 on Social Responsibility (ISO SR), of the International Organization of Standardization, a body which joins stakeholders from: Industry, Government, Consumer groups, Labour, Non Governmental Organizations, Service, support, research and others. The stated goal of the ISO SR is "to develop guiding principles with global relevance that will be useful to organizations worldwide in establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving the way they address social responsibility." WHO thinks that the product manufactured and impact to health should be included for consideration in the standardization process. The tobacco industry should not be allowed to use social responsibility programmes or strategies to promote their product or their business in any way. In the principles section of the standard, the right to health should appear as a basic human right.
An important question raised by UNHCR was how and when to draw the line on donations from the tobacco industry. In situations of acute crisis, and when corporate structures are such that only one part of the donating company involves tobacco products, the question is not an easy one to answer. The participant expressed a desire for clear guidance from the Global Compact on the issue. The World Bank representative was of the opinion that if NGOs cannot come up with the money to avoid a humanitarian disaster, it is irresponsible to block tobacco money. UNICEF, on the other hand, underlined the silent crisis of tobacco, which kills some 12,500 people a day. The WHO position, however, is clear: the tobacco industry is classified alongside weapons manufacturers as being off limits in terms of funding. Following a request from the UNHCR, the WHO said it would recommend to the UN Global Compact working group that it examine the issue of investments and participation of tobacco companies and their affiliates.
13. Preparation and structure of the report
Dr Douglas Bettcher presented an outline of the report that would be made to ECOSOC.
The key areas of concern raised in the report should relate to: smoke free workplaces, tobacco and poverty, illicit trade and interactions with the tobacco industry. On the first point, the report would make a recommendation to strengthen the UN smoke free policy promulgated by the SG in 2003 and implement it in all UN organizations. It would present it from an occupational safety and health perspective, arguing for a 100% smokefree environment for staff and banning sale of tobacco products on UN premises. It would also call for staff involvement in the process. On tobacco and poverty, the report will define the input of each agency, encouraging multisectoral participation and strengthening knowledge on the issue, creating capacity at the country level. On the tobacco industry and the question of donations from that sector, in accordance with the recommendation from UNHCR, it will be suggested to the Global Social Compact that a committee be formed to study and clarify the issue.
- Introductory part: origins of the Task Force,
- Overview of the public health, social and economic concerns,
- Key areas of concern:
o Smoke-free workplaces (with substantive inputs from ILO and UNEP) describe the four areas of concern, draft recommendations and propose a
- The finalized report should be handed in 15April 2006
- The first draft will be prepared by WHO by 28 February 2006
- The draft will then be distributed among the participants for review and comments and possible substantive changes; comments should be sent back to WHO by 24 March 2006.
- The preparation of the second draft should take 10 days. The second draft will be redistributed early April.
- One week will be given for the review of the second draft by the participants and the report should be handed to ECOSOC mid April.
Dr Yumiko Mochizuki thanked all participants for their presence in the Task Force, and called on them to engage those agencies whose presence was missed in tobacco control.
On behalf of the WHO, she promised to draft the Secretary General's report based on the discussions and suggestions made during this meeting regarding: smoke-free workplaces, tobacco and poverty, illicit tobacco trade and interactions with the tobacco industry.
13. Closure of the Session Dr Bill Kean declared the session closed.