A lot is going on in ASEAN for the promotion of freedom and dignity and international cooperation between continents empowers exchange of knowledge and developing ever improving ways to prevent and reduce alcohol harm and to build peace, understanding and development…

I am very proud of the work we in IOGT International together with our member organisations and partners do in South East Asia in terms of alcohol policy for development, human dignity, economic growth and more freedom and happiness for the people living there. Here comes a quick overview of what’s been going on in 2012 and what’s up in the last two months of this exciting year:

Follow up of GAPC in Bangkok 2012
IOGT International, together with the International Institute of the IOGT-NTO Movement (III), has for a long time supported Alcohol Policy work in South East Asia. In 2012 we have invited delegates from the National Assemblies in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam to national and regional workshops.

To give the three Commissions the latest and most qualified information, they attended the Global Alcohol Conference, GAPC, in Bangkok in February, 2012.

In conjunction with the Conference, the Thai Ministry of Public Health, together with Thai Health Promotion Foundation, IOGT International, the III and Centre for Alcohol Studies (CAS) organised a meeting with delegates from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Viet Nam and Thailand to promote knowledge and experience sharing among members of parliament in the region and how to facilitate the process to develop the action plan, particularly on national and regional capacity building and international collaboration.

The meeting was chaired by Mr. Chavarat Charnvirukal, Chair of the Thai Parliamentary Commission on Public Health, who declared:
• Alcohol consumption is one of the top five world greatest health risk factor
• Alcohol consumption also poses many serious social problems
• Alcohol-related problems are largely preventable. As parliamentarians and politicians, we are responsible for the formulation and implementation of effective policies and strategies to tackle these serious preventable problems
• This Indochina Parliamentarians Meeting to Address Alcohol-related Harms is an important step to promote evidence-based policies as well as a forum to share our experience and create constructive networks.

From GAPC the Commissions have chosen different ways to continue the process.

Workshop Ha Noi
For Viet Nam the big issue is the ongoing trade agreements and their implications on the process for Alcohol Policy. So, 6th September 2012 we organised a Conference on Alcohol Control Policy and Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, TPP, with the objective to provide information on the situation and consequences on participating TPP regarding to alcohol and tobacco control policy. The key contributor was Professor Jane Kelsey, New Zealand.

Workshop Phnom Penh
In 10-11th September in Phnom Penh, Cambodia there was a two day workshop “Measures to Reduce Alcohol Consumption in Cambodia” with more than 100 participants. The delegates from the Assembly, Senate, Ministries and Civil Society was informed about the status of alcohol policy, the evidence of alcohol problems and the possibility to act for a public health and security driven policy. How important it is to focus on the impact of Alcohol on the Non Communicable Diseases was also addressed. Next step is to implement a number of workshops on provincial level which will be executed by our partner PDP-Center.

Study visit by Stop Drink Network

We were honoured and truly glad to be able to welcome T้heera Watcharapranee, the Manager of Stop Drink Network (SDN) in Thailand, at our office in Stockholm. Our Vice President Kristina Sperkova welcomed him, introduced IOGT International and the different Swedish members of the IOGT movement and helped him prepare (in her own place) a Thai afternoon with traditional Thai food and a lecture about the work SDN is doing and how the alcohol harm situation is like in Thailand.

Teera speaking about alcohol harm in Thailand and his work at SDN to prevent and reduce it

Teera and Kristina also discussed different aspects of our cooperation, together with our Policy and Communication Officer, Maik Dünnbier. Topics of mutual interest are Non-communicable diseases, Free Trade Agreements and the development of prevention methods and interventions.

Teera and Kristina: what the whole study visit was all about for all of us

Teera and Maik discussing IOGT International’s work

We are really glad that SDN chose to apply for membership in IOGT International and look forward to closer cooperation!

40 years of development and peace work in Sri Lanka

During the recent weekend (9-11 November), members of UNF, the Swedish Youth Temperance Association, met for the Global Youth Empowerment Weekend, GYEW.
Among others they celebrated 40 years of cooperation and work for a better world in Sri Lanka.

Development, Solidarity, Intercultural Dialogue and mutual learning, Peace, Prevention, #LifeSetFree

Celebration Dinner for 40 years cooperation in Sri Lanka
Gotta Love ADIC


Study trip, advocacy and building civil society in November and December

As you are reading this, I am already in Thailand again. I stay at the regional office of our friend from the III before I travel to Bangkok where I meet and welcome Maik. We’ll then travel around the region to meet different partner organisations in Thailand (for example Plan Asia), and Cambodia. Maik will then continue to Manila, Philippines for a number of workshops together with the III and PHILCADSA, our partner there.

You’ll be able to follow us here in our blogs for updates and more reports.

For further reading:

A great article about SDN’s efforts and success in creating alcohol free environments in Thailand.