From October 1, 2018 to March 31, 2020, the Public Health and Reforms Center (PHRC) of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Azerbaijan has implemented the project on "Improvement of multisectoral tobacco control mechanisms in Azerbaijan", supported by the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (The Union) and Bloomberg Philanthropies international organization.
The main goal of the project is to improve the national tobacco control mechanisms in accordance with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in order to ensure the effective implementation of the newly adopted Law "On restriction of tobacco use" in Azerbaijan within the framework of joint cooperation with the government and civil society. In order to strengthen the recent positive changes in the tobacco legislation in the country, within the framework of the project, in cooperation with the relevant state institutions, civil society, business entrepreneurs and mass media, it was planned to eliminate the gaps in the relevant tobacco legislation and to organize the monitoring work for its effective implementation.
To achieve this goal, in collaboration with partners, civil society and decision makers, and in line with international practice and norms, as well as the articles of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the guidelines for the implementation of these articles, extensive support measures and comprehensive advocacy activities to bring the national tobacco legislation in line with the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Restriction of Tobacco Use”, identify tobacco control mechanisms and improve the national system for monitoring the effectiveness of tobacco control measures took place.
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is the first international agreement regulating the production, sale and use of tobacco products. It was adopted by the World Health Assembly on May 21, 2003 and entered into force on February 27, 2005. Since then, the Convention has become one of the most widely recognized agreements in the United Nations history. To date, 181 Party countries have joined the Convention, including Azerbaijan in 2005.
Completion of the project by 2020 coincided with the 15th anniversary of the accession of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. It is important that this project is in line with the goals and objectives of the "Strategy prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases in the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2015-2020", approved by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated December 23. 2015 and the Action Plan of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Azerbaijan for its implementation, in particular, were identical to the activities on “Preparation of proposals to strengthen the existing legal framework based on the analysis of the relevant legal acts of the Republic of Azerbaijan in terms of compliance with the Guidelines for the implementation of the articles of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control".
Within the framework of the project, the main goal and a subsequent series of important events, including seminars, conferences, mass actions, etc. have been successfully implemented.
Thus, a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) was established to carry out the relevant work, including the management of this work. Through regular meetings, the TAG provided advisory services in the direction of strengthening tobacco control legislation, analyzed the current legislation, and also made proposals for improving legislation based on Azerbaijan's obligations relation to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and international experience, and participated in support campaigns strengthening tobacco control. The TAG includes representatives of relevant government agencies and civil society, including the PHRC, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Taxes, the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman), the Azerbaijan Medical University, the ASAN Service, various public associations, the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society and media representatives.
All project activities were covered in the media, on the official website and social networks of the Public Health Center, as well as on the www.tobaccocontrol.az website, created in 2010 and updated in 2015 to support country tobacco control activities, as well as on the www.nosmoke.az website and was widely advocated on the Facebook page “Create a tobacco free world”, organized within the project framework.
Within the framework of the project, various educational printed materials were prepared, published and distributed, debates in the media were held, interviews were given, targeted meetings were organized in a number of enterprises and organizations. As a result of the negotiations, within the framework of the anti-tobacco campaign of the project, billboards were placed at the stations of the Baku Metro, public opinion polls regarding support of country tobacco control measures were conducted.
The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Public Health and Reformы Center, together with state, international and non-governmental organizations and, in general, all civil society, will continue to make efforts to combat the tobacco epidemic, purposefully implement the requirements of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On restricting of tobacco use".
PROJECT COORDINATOR: Tofiq Musayev
CONTACTS: [email protected]