19.7 Obligations regarding international cooperation and exchange of information and resources

Last updated: November 2023

Suggested citation: Kapa, W., Slattery, C., Zhou, S., George, A. & Liberman, J. 19.7 Obligations regarding international cooperation and exchange of information and resources. In Greenhalgh, EM, Scollo, MM and Winstanley, MH [editors].  Tobacco in Australia: Facts and issues. Melbourne: Cancer Council Victoria; 2023. Available from: https://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/chapter-19-ftct/19-7-obligations-regarding-international-cooperation-and-exchange-of-information-and-resources

19.7.1 Research and surveillance (Article 20), reporting (Article 21), cooperation in the scientific, technical and legal fields and provision of related expertise (Article 22) and financial resources (Article 26)

Under Article 20 of the WHO FCTC, Parties undertake to develop and establish various programs for research and surveillance, and to cooperate internationally with regard to such activities. This includes cooperation with regard to technical and financial assistance for such activities.

Article 21 requires Parties to submit periodic reports on their implementation of the Convention. The reporting questionnaire requests Parties to provide details of national tobacco consumption data; health social and economic indicators associated with tobacco use; an overview of national implementation of WHO FCTC obligations and instances of international cooperation and assistance.1 Parties’ periodic reports are publicly available on the website of the Convention Secretariat, along with the reporting questionnaire and instructions, and summaries of global progress in implementation prepared by the Convention Secretariat. 

Article 22 requires Parties to ‘cooperate directly or through competent international bodies to strengthen their capacity to fulfil the obligations arising from [the WHO FCTC], taking into account the needs of developing country Parties and Parties with economies in transition’. Parties agree to ‘promote the transfer of technical, scientific and legal expertise and technology, as mutually agreed, to establish and strengthen national tobacco control strategies, plans and programmes’, including various forms of knowledge and technology transfer, technical support, provision of expertise, training, material support, and research. The Conference of the Parties is mandated to promote and facilitate such transfer with the financial support secured under Article 26 of the WHO FCTC.

Article 26 encourages Parties to mobilise financial resources for the implementation of the Convention, both domestically and internationally, and outlines roles for Parties, the COP and the Secretariat to do so.

In the fulfilment of obligations relating to international cooperation and exchange of information and resources pursuant to Articles 20, 21, 22 and 26, the Australian Government regularly provides technical assistance and advice on tobacco control matters; is a member of WHO FCTC and WHO expert and working groups,1 has provided substantial voluntary extra budgetary contributions,2 and from November 2021 acting as a Bureau Member for the WHO FCTC, representing the Western Pacific Region,3 having previously acted as a Regional Coordinator in the Western Pacific Region from 2018 -2021, 2010-2012 and 2014-2016. Since the entry into force of the WHO FCTC, Australia submitted its first report on its implementation of the WHO FCTC to the COP in February 2007. The reports are available online from: https://untobaccocontrol.org/impldb/australia/

The Australian Government provides funding support to the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer to assist it to perform its functions as a WHO FCTC Knowledge Hub. The Knowledge Hubs assist the Convention Secretariat to facilitate the exchange of information and cooperation between Parties, and provide technical assistance. The Knowledge Hubs also conduct training and participate in relevant WHO FCTC meetings and missions, as appropriate. The McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, a joint initiative of Cancer Council Victoria, the Union for International Cancer Control, and Cancer Council Australia, serves as a Knowledge Hub in relation to legal challenges to implementation of the WHO FCTC. The McCabe Centre Knowledge Hub covers three principal areas: the relationship between international trade law and WHO FCTC implementation, the relationship between international investment law and WHO FCTC implementation, and challenges to tobacco control measures in domestic and regional courts. For more information, please see: https://extranet.who.int/fctcapps/fctcapps/fctc/kh/legalchallenges


1. Australian Government Department of Health. Core Questionnaire of the Reporting Instrument of the WHO FCTC 2020. Available from: https://untobaccocontrol.org/impldb/wp-content/uploads/Australia_2020_WHOFCTCreport.pdf

2. Australian Government Department of Health. Reporting Instrument of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. 2014. Available from: http://untobaccocontrol.org/impldb/wp-content/uploads/reports/australia_2014_report_final.pdf

3. WHO FCTC Secretariat. Bureau of the Conference of the Parties.  2021. Last update: 13 November 2021; Viewed 25 November 2022. Available from: https://fctc.who.int/who-fctc/governance/bureau-of-the-conference-of-the-parties