Every year three million premature deaths globally are attributable to alcohol. The World Health Organization response is a global strategy that was endorsed by Member States in 2010. However, this non-binding strategy has had little impact and, in response to growing concern, Member States agreed on a consultation to agree a way forward.
On 3 September 2021 the Health Coalition Aotearoa made a submission to the World Health Organization’s web-based consultation on the ‘Action plan (2022 – 2030) to effectively implement the Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol, First draft’.
Prepared by the Roopuu Apaarangi Waipiro (HCA Alcohol Expert Panel), the submission focuses on the key areas that the HCA believes most critically need strengthening in international collaboration to reduce alcohol harm: enhancing protection of policy-making from commercial interests of alcohol industries; inclusion of indigenous self-determination in preventing alcohol harm and reducing inequity; and strengthening and prioritizing the role of the WHO’s “three best buys” (increased excise tax, marketing bans, and restrictions on alcohol availability). Suggestions for strengthening several aspects of WHO processes and communication to improve effectiveness of this collaboration were also included.
In late 2020, Health Coalition Aotearoa submitted on an earlier phase of this process, the “Working Document for Development of an Action Plan to strengthen implementation of the Global Strategy to Reduce Harmful Use of Alcohol”.
HCA’s Roopuu Apaarangi Waipiro supports the development of a binding international treaty to reduce harm from alcohol, analogous to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, given the need to deal effectively with commercial interference in policy and with marketing on digital platforms, both of which operate at a global level.