Intensive Legal Training Program

                               Above: Participants and McCabe staff from the September 2015 training program

About the Program

The Program consists of an intensive 3-week training course conducted twice a year at the McCabe Centre in Melbourne, Australia, primarily for government lawyers from low- and middle-income countries, and follow-up information-sharing and support. The Program builds capacity in the use of law to prevent and control cancer and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) particularly in the context of developing coherence between health, trade and investment laws, policies and sectors.
The Program responds to the needs created by the rising burden of cancer and other NCDs, and their impacts on development. It supports the implementation by states of their commitments under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the 2011 UN Political Declaration on the Prevention and Control of NCDs, the 2014 Outcome document of the High-level meeting of the General Assembly on the comprehensive review and assessment of the progress achieved in the prevention and control of NCDs, the World Health Organization's Global action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs 2013-2020, and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), and related regional statements and action plans.
The Program addresses the pressing need for legal capacity building regularly expressed by low-and middle-income country governments. It supports governments by educating, empowering and supporting local policy-makers, leaders and champions.
The Program is conducted in collaboration with the Secretariat to the WHO FCTC, as a McCabe Centre WHO FCTC knowledge hub activity, and the World Health Organization.
The intensive training course has been run four times, highly successfully, in February-March 2014, February-March 2015, August-September 2015 and February-March 2016, with participants from Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Cook Islands, Egypt, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Georgia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Laos, Lesotho, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nepal, Niue, Palau, Peru, Philippines, PNG, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Timor Leste and Vietnam.

Course Curriculum

The course consists of:
• a structured 2-week curriculum of presentations, discussion, group work, case studies and practical exercises
• a semi-structured third week, during which participants work on projects of priority for their country and/or region with assistance and support from McCabe Centre staff, fellow participants, and external experts.

The curriculum covers legal issues across the cancer / NCD continuum from prevention to treatment and supportive care, with a focus on regulating risk factors, particularly tobacco use. It includes sessions on
• global governance
• the post-2015 sustainable development agenda
• the global NCD agenda
• legal issues in cancer prevention
• the WHO FCTC
• domestic legal challenges to tobacco control
• international trade law
• international investment law
• intellectual property law
• the negotiation of trade and investment agreements
• the ongoing trade and investment challenges to Australia's plain packaging legislation
• law enforcement in low-resource settings
• the role of law in health systems
• the rights of people affected by cancer

Ongoing Support

The Program provides ongoing networks of information-sharing and support, both between the McCabe Centre and participants and among participants.

Selection of Participants

Participants are selected in coordination with the WHO FCTC Secretariat, WHO headquarters and regional and country offices The primary selection criterion is that participants are well-placed to benefit from the Program and apply their learning and new networks to legal and policy developments in their country and/or region. While primarily targeted at low- and middle-income countries, the Program is also open to participation from high-income countries.

Major Partners

The Program receives primary funding support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Cancer Council Australia. This support is focused primarily on countries in the Indo-Pacific Region. The Program has also received funding support from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the WHO FCTC Secretariat, the WHO Regional Office for Africa, the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, and the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific, and the William L Rudder Trust. The McCabe Centre welcomes the involvement of additional partners, particularly to support participation from outside the Indo-Pacific Region.

Other McCabe Centre training

The McCabe Centre conducts a range of other training and capacity building activities, including in conjunction with the biennial World Cancer Congress. It works with partners to facilitate and support training and capacity building activities in other countries and regions, including in Kenya in May 2015 in collaboration with WHO AFRO, in Norway in June 2015 in collaboration with the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services and the Norwegian Cancer Society, and in Indonesia in October 2015 in collaboration with WHO Indonesia and the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia.

If you are interested in learning more, or supporting the Program, please contact Wendy McMillan (, Administration Officer .