IOGT International

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Seventy-second World Health Assembly (A72/1)
Agenda Item: 
11.1 Proposed programme budget 2020–2021

We commend the Secretariat for highlighting the need to support countries in
developing and implementing health promoting fiscal measures, like alcohol
taxation, to step up leadership to make progress on restricting alcohol
advertising and to produce global public health goods in the field of alcohol
control policies. From our work in the field, we know there is substantial and
growing demand from Member States for technical assistance in formulating
and implementing the alcohol policy best buys, especially alcohol taxation.
In addition, a recent landmark study in The Lancet projected that global targets
to reduce alcohol use and related harm will remain out of reach if action is not
stepped up.

That is why we are concerned to see a further reduction of funding allocated for
WHO’s mental health and substance abuse work. Since the adoption of the
WHO Global Alcohol Strategy almost a decade ago, resources allocated have
declined, not increased.

We therefore call on WHO and Member States to reverse this trend and to
allocate adequate resources, to make alcohol policy the priority it should be,
commensurate with the burden alcohol harm causes.
Our second serious concern is a proposal on page 74 in document A72/4. The
dialogue with the alcohol industry should not be framed as a multi-stakeholder
partnership. This jeopardizes WHO’s credibility and ability to exercise its global
normative leadership role. Engagement with the alcohol industry should by all
means remain limited to their core roles as stipulated by the WHO Global Alcohol Strategy. We urge the Secretariat and Member States to reconsider
and rephrase.

As the premier global network for alcohol prevention and control, IOGT
International pledges to continue and increase our support to build technical
capacity in countries for the implementation of the alcohol policy best buys as
critical tools to help achieve the triple billion target.