Take a look back at 2023 with us

Thursday 21 December, 2023

McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer - 2023 year in review

It's been another big year for the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer. Last year we celebrated our tenth anniversary, and in 2023 we celebrate ten years as the WHO FCTC Knowledge Hub on Legal Challenges. 

Milestones aside, we've also been proud to contribute to important pieces of work around the world, move to a new head office in Melbourne, Australia, welcome new team members, and shine a light on pressing issues. 

We've continued to collaborate with and support our founding partners - Cancer Council Victoria, the Union for International Cancer Control and Cancer Council Australia, and look forward to working with them into 2024. 

As always, we've enjoyed sharing in these moments with our friends and colleagues, and your continued support has inspired us throughout the year. 

Ten years of the Who FCTC Knowledge Hub on Legal Challenges - infographic

Although tobacco still kills eight million people each year, the world has seen significant progress on tobacco control in the past few decades.

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) has driven much of this progress, with assistance from the WHO FCTC Knowledge Hubs.

December 2023 marks ten years of the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer serving as the WHO FCTC Knowledge Hub on Legal Challenges to help respond to the tobacco industry’s attempts to delay lifesaving tobacco control measures through litigation and other legal scare tactics.

Read more about what we've achieved in the past decade and how far tobacco control has come. Meanwhile, we were   pleased to meet with representatives of our fellow Knowledge Hubs and the Convention Secretariat this year in Finland to continue this global collaboration.

The burden of cancer in women is significantly under-recognised, especially when compounded by overlapping forms of discrimination, such as age, race, ethnicity and socio-economic status. 

In September this year, The  Lancet published its Commission on Women, power, and cancer, and we were proud to contribute a Comment on the transformative potential of law for gender and cancer.

 Read our Comment here

Read the Commission here


September marked the second UN High Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, where UN member states met to accelerate efforts towards achieving UHC by 2030 under the Sustainable Development Goals through a renewed political declaration. Read more about how law can contribute in our  fact sheet and  policy brief.

Save the date!

On January 31st 2024, we will host a webinar on Closing the Care Gap for World Cancer Day. We'll be joined by cancer leaders from the Asia-Pacific region to discuss issues including difficulties in accessing treatment due to centralisation of cancer care services in major cities, to language and cultural barriers in receiving appropriate care. 

Click below to register your interest for the webinar.

 Register interest


In October, we attended the UICC World Cancer Leaders’ Summit in Long Beach, California, where Rachel Kitonyo-Devotsu was invited to speak on the threat of new tobacco products, and Hayley Jones presented on the role of law in national cancer control plans. While there, we were delighted to be named as co-hosts of the  next UICC World Cancer Leaders' Summit. The Summit will take place in Melbourne in November 2025, with  Cancer Council Victoria hosting, and the  VCCC Alliance and  Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium serving as fellow co-hosts. 


Welcomes and farewells

This year we  farewelled our Regional Manager for Asia, Evita Ricafort, and  welcomed Ma-Anne Rosales-Sto. Domingo into the role. Anasha Flintoff also joined the McCabe Centre team as a Legal Research Officer, while Andrea Lucas moved on to a role with WHO. Whitny Kapa will be finishing her parental leave cover role as Legal Policy Advisor, and we have welcomed Clare Slattery back to the team.

Online learning continued to be a big focus for the McCabe Centre in 2023, with our  second-ever UICC Master Course and our fourth Online Legal Training Program attracting more than 70 participants. We also ran a workshop on  tobacco and regional trade agreements in the Pacific Islands, and shared our work with students at Melbourne Law school as participants in panel discussions on identity, intersectionality, law and advocacy and were guest lecturers on tobacco control, trade and investment.

With priority projects focusing on issues such as eliminating cervical cancer, strengthening tobacco control laws or using law to create healthy food environments, we look forward to seeing the great work that alumni will contribute to in their countries in time.


Tobacco slave

Our Regional Manager for Africa, Rachel Kitonyo-Devotsu, featured in Tobacco Slave, a new documentary by award-winning director Roy Maconachie, the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, and tobacco industry watchdog STOP. The film reveals how tobacco giants profit from contract systems that can keep tobacco farmers trapped in poverty, which also create an unsafe environment for children who frequently have to work to support their families.

Watch the documentary  here


Throughout 2023, we made many submissions that we’re proud of, including an Australian Senate inquiry into carers rights, a submission to the South African government on tobacco control, consultations on Universal Health Coverage, and non-communicable disease and mental health in Small Island Developing States.


In our role as a WHO Collaborating Centre, we continued to publish our regular Law and NCDs newsletter, and participated in Technical Advisory Group and Regional Committee Meetings.


Compliance and enforcement of laws for the prevention of non-communicable diseases - infographic 

We know that law is one of the most effective and powerful tools in preventing noncommunicable disease – but laws can only be effective if they lead to change on the ground.

In June we launched our latest report, 'Compliance and enforcement of laws for the prevention of NCDs: Examples from the Western Pacific Region and beyond', with a webinar attended by more than 40 of our colleagues and friends from around the world. 

The report, which we developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization in the Western Pacific Region, looks at building in systems of monitoring, compliance and enforcement and brings together examples of good practices from the region and elsewhere.

Read the report


McCabe Centre Director Hayley Jones and Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper with Richelle Hunt on ABC Radio

There are two shocks that happen when you are told you have cancer. One is being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, the other is all the costs associated with cancer. In October, McCabe Centre Director Hayley Jones and Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper joined Richelle Hunt on ABC Radio for a Conversation Hour on the costs of cancer in Australia. You can listen to the podcast of the show here

We also look forward to working with our supporters, alumni and colleagues in the new year, and continuing to use law to help people live happier and healthier lives.

Wishing you a safe and happy end to 2023,
The McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer team. 

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Take a look back at 2023 with us

Thursday 21 December 2023
It's been another big year for the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer. Last year we celebrated our tenth anniversary, and in 2023 we celebrate ten years as the WHO FCTC Knowledge Hub on Legal Challenges.