For immediate release: May 23, 2023
Media contact: Maik Dünnbier

May 23, 2023 (Geneva, Switzerland) – A group of 106 community and public health leaders from 60 countries and six continents are calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) to stop its closed-door meetings with alcohol lobbyists, which allow companies that profit from alcoholic products to have unprecedented access to leaders who are responsible for advancing global health.

To coincide with the Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly, which is underway in Geneva, leading health advocates from around the world are calling out the secretive, annual invitation-only WHO meeting with alcohol company representatives.

In a joint open letter, leaders from organisations representing public health, community, family violence, children’s rights and First Nations groups called on WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to stop engaging with alcohol lobbyists.

Alcohol companies should not have a seat at the table where policy and programs to progress community health, wellbeing and safety is being developed, assessed or evaluated,” the letter said. 

The health, wellbeing and safety of our families and communities is far too important.”

Open Letter to WHO Director General Dr Tedros by 100+ organization

Alcohol companies’ repeated efforts to undermine public health reforms have been observed around the world. 

Ms Kristina Sperkova, International President of Movendi International said preventing and reducing alcohol harm was crucial for the WHO to achieve its aim of giving every person an equal chance at a safe and healthy life. 

Alcohol companies and their lobby groups work relentlessly to undermine common sense measures to improve the health and safety of people across the globe. They should not be given unprecedented access to the very people who are responsible for advancing global health,” she said. 

Alcohol kills 3 million people a year globally, representing 5 per cent of all deaths. Alcohol is the largest risk factor for disease burden in the group 25-49 years. Every effort should be made to prevent this harm.”

Kristina Sperkova, International President, Movendi International