Citizen Oversight Groups (Veedurías), a suitable instrument to advance in the tobacco control agenda, the Colombian experience
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Educar Consumidores, Colombia
Liga Colombiana Contra el Cáncer, Colombia
Fundación Anhas, Colombia
Colectivo Aquí y Ahora, Colombia
Corporate International Accountability, Colombia
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A69
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Background and challenges to implementation:
Colombia´s Constitution enshrines several instruments of citizen-participation that aim to foster government accountability and encourage democratic deliberation. Such constitutional principles materialize in the right of citizens to establish Citizen Oversight Groups (Veedurías). These organizations represent community interests, surveilling activities of public and private actors, including NGOs, regarding public policy issues, particularly those that involve publicly-owned resources. (Law 134,1994). Veedurías are a suitable instrument to address transparency issues, which is at the core of the challenges to advance in the tobacco control agenda in any country.

Intervention or response:
Veeduría for Tobacco Control-(VCCT) uses this surveillance tool to promote the implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control(FCTC), VCCT benefits from a multidisciplinary, multi-actor approach, advocating for:
Acknowledgement of human, health, social and economic costs of tobacco consumption.
Implementation of international commitments derived from FCTC.
Protect tobacco control policies from tobacco industry interference
Promote transparency, legality, and citizen participation.
Promote opportunities for social transformation through education, and the protection of the right to information.

Results and lessons learnt:
VCCT has offered guidance, promoted dissemination of scientific evidence (e.g. a tax policy brief, position statements on e-cigarettes, and illicit trade, organization of academic forums) multiplied impacts of those projects led by its member organizations. It has provided an efficient coordination mechanism to deploy a wide range of technical and social resources to promote legislation initiatives or counteract those that oppose FCTC guidelines, on topics such as health warnings, e-cigarettes, tax increases. VCCT implements education interventions to empower citizens to assert their rights.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
CVCT has became a relevant actor in the tobacco control agenda in Colombia due to, at least; three keys factors: Firstly,"united-we-stand"; VCCT works from a multidisciplinary, multi-actor approach. Secondly, this approach is always based in evidence and best practices; and finally, VCCT advocates for different issues than congregates different key actors.

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