UNDP makes public its exclusion of tobacco industry

UNDP has released its official position on non-partnership with the tobacco industry. UNDP’s exclusionary criteria applied to industries that “Manufacture, sale or distribution of tobacco or tobacco products”. The official document is now available online:policy on partnerships [see page 14]

This is an important step forward for another UN agency, besides the WHO, to make public its exclusion of the tobacco industry. This is particularly important in the context of tobacco companies now approaching governments using the “community development” and “poverty eradication” umbrella. UNDP’s official position should clarify the matter to governments who are implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Indonesia, though a non-Party to the FCTC, should take note as it has projects with the UNDP.

Red Cross: New Policy on non–engagement with tobacco industry

With successful advocacy, the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) now has an official policy of non-engagement with the tobacco companies (attached). In a 10–page document, the IFRC has outlined – Ethical Framework which includes Conflict of interest as a public health actor,Aiding and abetting the industry’s influence and Red Cross Red Crescent regulations on tobacco companies. Congratulations to IFRC!

The IFRC has informed us that they have distributed this Internal Guidance Brief to all their National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

In the ASEAN region, local Red Cross societies that continue to receive tobacco funds include Vietnam (from PMI) and Cambodia (from BAT). For more information refer to SEATCA document: End Corporate Giving

Action: It will be good for advocates in Vietnam and Cambodia to send the IFRC Brief to national Red Cross societies as a reminder.

 

Indonesia: Tobacco trade thumps health

Indonesian President Jokowi on a recent state visit to the US, agreed to PMI’s $2 billion investment in Indonesia. Appeals from health advocates to their President “not to sell his people’s health to Big Tobacco” were ignored.

The Indonesian government has also signed up to the Sustainable Development Goals, which state that tobacco consumption leads to increased poverty. Looks like trade and health are operating in parallel universe.

 

Following the President’s visit, the US ASAN Business Council (US-ABC) has scheduled trade missions of American Businesses to Jakarta – there is one on 9-12 Nov. The US-Indonesian Business Committee oversee such missions. The red flag is that Coca Cola chairs the committee while PMI is one of the Vice-Chairs. [PMI is also the Vice-Chair for 2 other countries – US-Philippines Committeeand US-Singapore Committee]

Meanwhile the Indonesian Ministry of Finance has just announced an excise tax increase of 11% on tobacco – which it halved from the original target of 23% it expected to impose to discourage smoking and boost state revenue.