In March 2021, the alcohol industry, along with the tobacco and arms industries was still included on the red list specifying those industries that are completely off-limits for the WHO Foundation to accept donations and gifts from.
However, a change was made to that policy and quietly posted to the website of the WHO Foundation in April this year. Now the alcohol industry is “orange listed” – allowing them to make gifts to the WHO Foundation.
Communities as well as researchers who care about the independence of WHO are deeply concerned about this development. In a scientific commentary they cautioned:
It is not difficult to envisage a scenario in which donations from alcohol, for example, come to exceed the extremely modest provision in the WHO budget for alcohol control.”
Health harmful industries have been shown to exploit donor relations for their own corporate objectives – maximising profits and avoiding public health regulations. Allowing the alcohol industry to give gifts to the WHO Foundation will damage the credibility, legitimacy and core mission of the World Health Organization.
The alcohol industry will use the opportunity to establish donor relations to shape and set the agenda and to gain access to WHO in order to derail and obstruct important alcohol policy development work.
But WHO is important to promote and protect the health of billions of people worldwide, more so now than ever before.
To protect this important mission of the World Health Organization Movendi International members took action and began an immediate letter-writing campaign for a change to be made to the WHO Foundations Gift Giving Policy. The alcohol industry should be red-listed. Big Alcohol should be barred from establishing any donor relations of any kind with the WHO Foundation. This will help to protect the integrity, independence and critical work of WHO.
The WHO Foundation should treat the alcohol industry the same way the tobacco industry already is treated – especially given the evidence that both are intertwined, collaborate closely and profit from one another.
The best way is to ensure the WHO Foundation does not accept any alcohol industry donations or gifts of any kind.
Let’s ask the CEO and the board members of the WHO Founation to red-list Big Alcohol to safeguard WHO’s reputation and mission in the important work to protect more people from alcohol harm.Movendi International members’ call to action
So far, within a week of commencing the campaign, more than 130 people have decided to send letters of concern to the leadership of the WHO Foundation, including the founder, the CEO and other members of the board.