Tobacco Grants returned by Bangladesh NGO BRAC

August 14 2019 – On July 31, Bangladeshi tobacco control advocates announced that BRAC, a world-leading non-government organization (NGO) from Bangladesh, has returned funds worth USD 64,151 that they had received as a grant from the Philip Morris International (PMI)-funded Foundation for Smoke-Free World (FSFW).

The tobacco control NGO PROGGA states that “The moral stand taken by BRAC in this regard will go a long way in building a tobacco-free country as propounded by the government of Bangladesh taking apart from being a partner of tobacco industries and de-normalizing them, as FSFW is serving the cause and purposes of PMI.“ Around June 15, PROGGA alerted the development community in Bangladesh about two FSFW Grants in the country, utilizing information from FSFW tax returns based on a STOP Watchdog report.

PROGGA is also calling upon another recipient of the FSFW’s fund in Bangladesh to return its grant, and is urging the National Tobacco Control Cell (NTCC) of the Health Services Division, Ministry of Health and Family Affairs of the Bangladeshi government, to issue directives to all government and non-government organizations to ensure that they will not take any grant funds or get involved with the tobacco industry through FSFW in any way.

FSFW’s attempts at partnerships have recently been rejected by the public health community, the World Health Organization (WHO), Thailand, and now, Bangladesh.

Article 13 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) requires Parties to have a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotions and sponsorships (TAPS), including a ban on so-called corporate social responsibility (CSR) contributions and activities (which fall within the scope of TAPS) of the tobacco industry such as PMI and PMI-funded FSFW. For governments that have only restrictions on TAPS due to their constitution or constitutional principles that prevent comprehensive bans, it must denormalize such sponsorships in accordance with Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC.

FSFW grantees were made publicly available through an analysis of FSFW Tax Returns by the Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP) project.

 

Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control (GGTC) aims to address the single greatest obstacle to tobacco control, tobacco industry interference. It is a joint initiative of the School of Global Studies, Thammasat University and Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) and has been designated as the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Secretariat as the Knowledge Hub on Article 5.3, (treaty provision on countering tobacco industry interference).  GGTC is also a key partner of the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP).

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

  1. Brac praised for returning fund from multinational tobacco company. Dhaka Tribune. 01 August 2019. Retrieved from https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2019/08/01/brac-praised-for-returning-fund-from-multinational-tobacco-company (accessed on 13 August 2019)
  2. Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control. Countering the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW). 2019. Available at https://ggtc.world/2019/07/18/countering-the-foundation-for-a-smoke-free-world-fsfw/ (accessed 13 August 2019).
  3. Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control, et al. Open Letter to Urge WHO Executive Board to Reject Foundation for a Smoke Free World (FSFW). 28 January 2019.  Available at https://ggtc.world/2019/01/28/an-open-letter-to-urge-who-executive-board-to-reject-fsfw/ (accessed 13 August 2019).
  4. World Health Organization. WHO Statement on Philip Morris funded Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. 28 September 2017. Available at https://untobaccocontrol.org/kh/article-53/statement-philip-morris-funded-foundation-smoke-free-world/ and https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/28-09-2017-who-statement-on-philip-morris-funded-foundation-for-a-smoke-free-world (accessed on 13 August 2019).
  5. Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control. No Takers for Philip Morris’ Foundation for Smoke Free World Event. 09 July 2019. Available at  https://ggtc.world/2019/07/09/no-takers-for-philip-morris-foundation-for-smoke-free-world-event/ (accessed on 13 August 2019).