WCO and WHO continue dialogue and cooperation to fight illicit tobacco trade

17 September 2014

Brussels, 15 September 2014

Press Release

The newly appointed Head of Secretariat of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), Dr. Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, and the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, met in Geneva, Switzerland on 12 September 2014. The aim of the meeting was to continue developing existing ties of cooperation in the fight against illicit trade in tobacco products, following the signing of a Statement of Intent between both Organizations in March 2014.

Dr. Mikuriya and Dr. da Costa e Silva explored concrete ways in which the WCO and the FCTC Secretariat could work together in raising awareness about the WHO Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, sharing knowledge and technical expertise, as well as building capacities and promoting multisectorial dialogue and coordination between Customs, health and other relevant sectors. The meeting also served to discuss topics of mutual interest for the upcoming session of Conference of the Parties to the WHO FCTC to be held in October in Moscow.

The Secretary General emphasized that Customs administrations have confronted the complexity of illicit trade in tobacco for decades and, due to its unique competencies in end-to-end supply chain management, will be a key authority in implementing the Protocol upon its entry into force. He stressed that close cooperation between all relevant authorities is necessary to ensure the maximum impact of all actions aimed at eliminating illicit trade in tobacco. In concluding the meeting, the Secretary General congratulated Dr. da Costa e Silva for her recent appointment and both Organizations reaffirmed their commitment to continue fostering open and collaborative communication and to work together in the future to counter the menace of illicit trade in tobacco products.