Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have announced a joint effort to combat the tobacco industry's use of international trade agreements that threaten and prevent countries from passing strong tobacco-control laws.
With an initial commitment totaling $4 million, which is expected to increase as additional donors come on board, the Anti-Tobacco Trade Litigation Fund will provide support to low- and middle-income countries facing suit before international trade tribunals. To be administered by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the fund will provide assistance to countries drafting legislation and documentation designed to help them avoid legal challenges and potential trade disputes resulting from the passage of tobacco-control laws; support global best practices in tobacco control and coordinate efforts to document industry wrongdoing; provide financial support and access to high-quality legal counsel to countries embroiled in litigation; and provide support for communications efforts aimed at informing the public about the industry challenges to tobacco-control policies and abuse of the trade system.
"We are at a critical moment in the global effort to reduce tobacco use, because the significant gains we have seen are at risk of being undermined by the tobacco industry's use of trade agreements and litigation," said Bloomberg Philanthropies founder and former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "We will stand with nations as they work to protect their populations against the deadly health effects of tobacco use."
Bloomberg Philanthropies also announced the winners of its Awards for Global Tobacco Control, which celebrate the significant strides made by organizations implementing tobacco control policies in low- and middle-income countries. Recipients of the award include the Brazilian Ministry of Health and National Institute of Statistics; the Regional Advocacy Life Center in Kiev, Urkaine; the Ministry of Health in Uruguay; the Ministry of Health and Population in Nepal; KONFOP in Moscow; and the Philippines Department of Finance and Department of Health.
"We celebrate the impressive work of these organizations and the progress across the world in reducing tobacco use," said Kelly Henning, director of public health programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies. "Their efforts are truly notable as they make tangible progress to save lives."