"They have a right to participate as a stakeholder": Article 5.3 implementation and government interactions with the tobacco industry in Ethiopia

Selamawit Hirpa*, Rob Ralston, Wakgari Deressa, Jeff Collin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: This paper explores implementation of Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in Ethiopia. The analysis highlights how operationalising key requirements of Article 5.3, such as minimising policy engagement with the tobacco industry, has been mediated by path-dependent processes of stakeholder consultation and collaboration that have persisted following privatisation of Ethiopia’s state-owned tobacco monopoly.

Methods: We conducted semistructured interviews with key officials (n=21) working in tobacco control policy, with high levels of access secured across ministries and agencies beyond health.

Results: We found contrasting levels of awareness of Article 5.3 across government sectors, with extremely limited awareness in departments beyond health. The data also highlight competing ideas about conflict of interest, in which recognition of a fundamental conflict of interest with the tobacco industry is largely confined to health actors. Beyond limited cross-sectoral awareness and understanding of Article 5.3, gaps in implementation are exacerbated by assumptions and practices around stakeholder consultation, in which attempts to minimise policy interactions with the tobacco industry are mediated by institutionally embedded processes that presume active engagement. The results also highlight a continuation of the close relationship between the Ethiopian government and tobacco monopoly following its privatisation.

Conclusion: The Ethiopian government’s recent achievements in tobacco control legislation require that policymakers are actively supported in reconciling perceived tensions and requirements for stakeholder consultation. Effective tobacco control governance would be further enhanced by enabling government agencies to more clearly identify which interactions with the tobacco industry are strictly necessary under Article 5.3 guideline recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)s5-s11
JournalTobacco Control
Volume31
Issue numberSuppl 1
Early online date31 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

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