Today in Kuala Lumpur we are making history. We are launching the Chinese Edition of “Alcohol No Ordinary Commodity”. Professor Tom Babor will hold a key note address called “The gathering storm: Alcohol abuse in Asia and the Pacific and the Public Health response”.

It’s a unique opportunity and I am very proud that IOGT International continues to promote independent evidence in collaboration with the best scientists and communities affected by alcohol harm around the world. Mandarin is the largest language in the world today. The lecture will also be published in an academic journal by our collaborator the New Era University College – making the understanding of the evidence of alcohol harm and the policy responses widely available within the Chinese community in the Asia Pacific and overseas. In this context, we’re confident and hopeful that the ripples from this launching event, from the translated book and the article will help to build more momentum – for example in places like Peoples Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. Later this year, we will organise similar launching event in Hong Kong.

I am happy to share with you the video of my address to this high-level event of ambassadors, policy makers and leading scientists and NGOs from the region:

“Dear Excellences, colleagues and friends,

It’s a great pleasure and privilege to address you today.

You have come together at a crucial moment in time and for an important cause. I am therefore both happy and sad. Saddened by the fact that I cannot be with you today; but happy and inspired because all of you have come together for this event to launch the Mandarin translation of Alcohol No Ordinary Commodity.

This book really is a landmark achievement in the global efforts to prevent and control alcohol harm through evidence-based, cost-effective and high-impact policy measures.

Already the title is spot on: alcohol is no ordinary commodity. Worldwide, every 10 seconds a human being dies because of alcohol.

Of course, the achievements of this book are not only about a catchy title.

It’s achievement is about the comprehensive knowledge base provided; it is also about the way that state-of-the-art evidence is brought together with an analysis of policy solutions to tackle alcohol harm; and it is about how strategies and role of the alcohol industry are addressed.

Having this on mind, you can easily understand why IOGT did not hesitate or feel daunted by the task to ensure that as many people around the world as possible do have access to the know-how put forward in ”Alcohol No Ordinary Commodity”. It’s already translated into Korean, Spanish and Thai.

More than 14% of the world population speaks Mandarin. It’s the largest language in the world.

Like the English- or Spanish speaking communities, like the Swahili, Russian, or Hindi-speakers also the Mandarin-speaking community in the world knows about the burden of alcohol harm.

They know the impact on individuals, families, their communities and society.

Alcohol is a burden on public health, an obstacle to development and a threat to economic prosperity. The alcohol industry manufactures these problems and makes profits in doing so.

It is in this context that you have come together timely.

The cooperation with the New Era University College and other friends in Malaysia has made this publication you are discussing today possible.

It is time to summon our best efforts – together – to denounce un-informed arguments and promote independent evidence, to question myths driven by the alcohol industry and resolve to act in concert to develop and implement effective strategies to prevent and reduce alcohol harm.

I wish you the best of luck in your efforts.

Thank you!”

END

For more information:

The address in PDF: Welcome Address Launching of Mandarin Translation Alcohol No Ordinary Commodity

Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity – Research and Public Policy Second Edition
A collaborative effort by an international group of addiction scientists to improve the linkages between addiction science and alcohol policy. It presents, in a comprehensive, practical, and readily accessible form, the accumulated scientific knowledge on alcohol research that has a direct relevance to the development of alcohol policy on local, national, and international levels.

It provides an objective analytical basis on which to build relevant policies globally and informs policy-makers who have direct responsibility for public health and social welfare. The scope of the book is comprehensive and international. The authors describe the conceptual basis for a rational alcohol policy and present new epidemiological data on the global dimensions of alcohol harm. The core of the book is a critical review of the cumulative scientific evidence in seven general areas of alcohol policy: pricing and taxation, regulating the physical availability of alcohol, modifying the environment in which alcohol use occurs, driving under alcohol influence countermeasures, marketing restrictions, primary prevention programs in schools and other settings, and treatment and early intervention services. The final chapters discuss the current state of alcohol policy in different parts of the world and describe the need for a new approach to alcohol policy that is evidence-based, realistic, and coordinated.