MISSION

To provide the world with strategies and tools to counter tobacco industry interference and promote policy coherence in tobacco control at the national, regional, and global levels

THE CHALLENGE

At the Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control (GGTC), we want to solve the single greatest obstacle to tobacco control implementation:  Tobacco industry’s interference.

With the tobacco industry’s dynamic approaches, governments are caught off guard, advocates are on a reactionary mode, and intergovernmental organizations are unaware. The most potent tool to counter the tobacco industry’s tactics exists and it is embodied in Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC and its Guidelines for Implementation.

Article 5.3 provides that “In setting public health policies with respect to tobacco control, Parties shall act to protect these policies from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry.”

THE OPPORTUNITY

Life-saving tobacco control measures are stunted if the tobacco industry continues to interfere. The world has taken some action to change this: Some countries have adopted measures to safeguard public officers from tobacco industry interactions. The UN General Assembly, in its 2011 high level meeting on NCDs, recognized the fundamental conflict of interest between public health and the tobacco industry. The UNDP has adopted a policy to reject funding from the tobacco industry, and the UN Global Compact had excluded the tobacco industry from its participants. But there is more to be done.

In the spirit of strengthening tobacco control in order to save lives, GGTC aims to provide actionable tools and whole of government strategies to overcome challenges brought on by the tobacco industry and those seeking to represent its interests.

 

GGTC: Knowledge Hub on Article 5.3

Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control (GGTC) is a combination of the academic discipline, diversity, and global reach of the School of Global Studies, Thammasat University and the decades-long experience of Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA)’s leaders in countering tobacco industry interference to move tobacco control measures forward at the country, regional, and global levels.

With the support of the Ministry of Public Health Thailand, GGTC was designated by the FCTC Secretariat to serve as the Knowledge Hub on Article 5.3 to support implementation of the Convention’s obligation on protecting against tobacco industry interference.

The COP7 requested the Secretariat to establish a Knowledge Hub on Article 5.3 that coordinates the work of experts to develop international cooperation, including cooperation with other Knowledge Hubs, as appropriate, and with the Observatories; is responsive to regional economic groupings in the development of innovative ways to engage non-health sectors nationally, regionally and globally; assists Parties upon request in developing strategies to counter tobacco industry interference in bilateral, regional and global relations to promote global awareness of Article 5.3; supports Parties in developing strategies to counter the tobacco industry’s misleading information related to the WHO FCTC and tobacco control; and promotes mechanisms, including technical assistance and tools, to assist country-level implementation of Article 5.3.

GGTC is committed to work with the Secretariat, among others, to develop, analyse, synthesize and disseminate to the Parties to the Convention knowledge and information through online materials and training, including in meetings and missions.

 

MEET OUR EXECUTIVE TEAM

Dr. Nuntavarn Vichit-Vadakan
Chair
Email: nuntavarn@ggtc.world

Nuntavarn is a well-recognized and highly respected negotiator at the Conference of the Parties (COP) proceedings and other WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) related meetings. She is a member of the panel of experts on the illicit trade protocol and an expert on international relations. She also serves as the Thammasat University’s founding Dean of its School of Global Studies.

 

Ms. Bungon Ritthiphakdee
Executive Director
Email: bungon@ggtc.world

Bungon is a Luther Terry Awardee (2006) and a World Health Organization awardee (2001). She started her staunch tobacco control advocacy in Thailand in the 1990s after the United States forced the country to open up its cigarette market. Her hard work paid off after Thailand passed comprehensive tobacco control law and measures. Subsequently, she examined the neighboring ASEAN countries that were confronting similar problems, believing that collaboration with partners will bolster tobacco control in the region. In 2001, she founded the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) and assumed its role as director.

 

Dr. Mary Assunta
Head of Global Research and Advocacy
Email: mary@ggtc.world

Mary is a Luther Terry Awardee (2003) for outstanding leadership in tobacco control, representing low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in many platforms to counter and debunk tobacco industry tactics. She has more than 20 years of experience in international tobacco control advocacy. She is the principal author of the tobacco industry interference index. She has a doctorate in public health from the University of Sydney – School of Public Health, in which she serves as an adjunct senior lecturer.

 

Atty. Deborah Sy
Head of Global Public Policy and Strategy
Email: debby@ggtc.world

Debby is a Johns Hopkins University IGTCI Awardee for Excellence in Advocacy (2012) for instituting tobacco industry monitoring activities which won the Bloomberg Award (M) for HealthJustice, a think tank aimed at bridging the gap between health and law—where she is the founding trustee and senior advisor. She collaborated with the Harrison Institute of Public Policy at Georgetown University on the recognition of tobacco control issues in trade and investment negotiations. She provides legal assistance on universal health care, health promotion, good governance, food and drug regulation, intellectual property, taxation, trade as well as women and children’s rights.


Our Key Partners

The School of Global Studies, housed in Thammasat University, one of Thailand’s oldest and premier university, is a new and innovative academic initiative and a front runner in global health and social innovation within Thailand, Southeast Asia, and beyond with a track record of excellent research on determinants of the public’s health, student centered teaching, and academic service relevant to community needs.

 

SEATCA is a WHO World No Tobacco Day awardee, that has two decades of success in assisting developing nations in countering tobacco industry interference (TII). Its pioneering employment of multi-sectoral regional meetings has led to development of anti-TII policies from non-health sectors, including for example the Philippine Civil Service Commission’s “Protecting the Bureaucracy against TII” and the Indonesian Ministry of Education’s Tobacco CSR Ban. SEATCA’s multi-disciplinary expertise, campaign strategy and collaborative actions have been instrumental in monumental policy shifts, including the exclusion of tobacco control measures from the inter-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS) of the Transpacific Partnership Agreement and removal of TI sponsorship from the International Trade and Investment Center. It initiated the TI Interference Index, a global civil society index on TII intensity, which serves as the most potent advocacy tool in challenging TII in the region. Started in ASEAN, the index has now been adopted by the Pacific Islands and EMRO countries and is being considered by governments and NGOs in SEARO.

 

Key Partners:

ThaiHealth