EPISODE 13 – THE ALCOHOL ISSUES PODCAST
Most recently, the World Health Organization published all submissions made to a web-based consultation from late last year about the development of a global alcohol action plan.
Shehara analyzed 16 submissions of major alcohol industry front groups from around the world.
We discuss the findings of the analysis and try to make sense of them, examining whether there are commonalities or even through-lines across the different front groups, from different countries and parts of the world. We also shed light on the use of science, or lack thereof, by the alcohol industry in their submissions.
And Kristina joins the conversation to help put the claims into context and discuss what Big Alcohol is actually up to.
Taking a detailed look at the suggestions of the alcohol industry for the development of a global action plan is revealing. The conversation helps identify the contradictions, shortcomings and the PR-spin the alcohol industry applies even to a technical consultation on a specific issue.
It’s eye-opening conversation with Shehara and Kristina. This rapid analysis and short evaluation helps to expose why and how Big Alcohol engages with the World Health Organization.
Resources for the conversation with Shehara and Kristina
- Read the first part of the analysis: “Big Tobacco’s Strategic Ally Interferes in WHO Alcohol Policy Consultation”
- Read the second part of the analysis: “Exposed: The Strategies Big Alcohol Deploys to Interfere in WHO Alcohol Policy Consultation”
- Follow Kristina on Twitter.
- Read Shehara’s opinion pieces on our global voices portal.
More about the WHO alcohol action plan consultation
A decision unanimously adopted at the World Health Organization’s Executive Board meeting in February 2020 called the global alcohol burden a “public health priority”. In the decision, countries request “accelerated action” on alcohol harm and decided to task WHO with developing, among other things, a global alcohol action plan to improve the implementation of the WHO Global Alcohol Strategy.
In November 2020, the WHO has launched the first step of an extensive consultation process: a web-based consultation on the working document to develop an action plan for more effective implementation of the Global Alcohol Strategy.
Movendi International had already conducted a thorough analysis of the implementation of the WHO Global Alcohol Strategy in the decade since its adoption, as part of its contribution to the review process in 2019. Analysis showed that the WHO Global Alcohol Strategy – despite having facilitated some success – is ineffective, inadequate and in parts outdated to protect people from the harm caused by the products and practices of the alcohol industry.
In February 2021, the WHO published all consultation contributions. Rapid analysis shows that civil society and community contributions – with a substantial number of Movendi International members – outperform the Big Alcohol lobby by far. Out of 253 total submissions, civil society and community groups are responsible for more than 130 submissions. Movendi International alone has supported ca. 40 consultation contributions – meaning approximately one-third of civil society submissions, as Movendi members also contributed to the development of submissions by partners and alcohol policy alliances. Big Alcohol – including producers, advertisers, lobby front groups, trade associations and industry-funded think tanks – stands for only ca. 75 submissions.
Rapid analysis of the alcohol industry submissions reveal a concerted effort of the alcohol industry deploying the Big Tobacco strategy and network where think tanks interfere on behalf of the industries in public health policy making. This mobilization of Big Tobacco’s network to undermine alcohol policy development at the WHO calls into question even more why the alcohol industry is allowed to participate in the first place.
In a second analysis, we reviewed 16 submissions of major alcohol industry front groups from around the world. This brought to light a number of surprising and a few shocking elements.
There are clear commonalities and even through-lines across the Big Alcohol submissions.
Exposing the major claims the alcohol industry makes to undermine the development of the global alcohol action plan highlights the contradictions, shortcomings and the PR-spin the alcohol industry applies even to a technical consultation on a specific issue.