The Seventy-second session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe is held in hybrid format in Tel Avivi, Isreal, from September 12 to 14, 2022.
During WHO EURO RC72, health ministers and high-level delegates of the 53 Member States of the WHO European Region, as well as representatives of partner organizations and civil society, including Movendi International, will gather in Tel Aviv, Israel, or connect virtually for the 72nd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe (RC72), to deliberate and decide on critical public health issues, including a new Alcohol Policy Framework.
Alcohol policy will be on the agenda of WHO EURO RC72, after years of Movendi International advocacy to make alcohol policy the priority it should be.
- Agenda item 10: European framework for action on alcohol 2022–2025The framework (EUR/RC72/12): European framework for action on alcohol 2022–2025
- The draft decision text (EUR/RC72/CONF./10): Draft decision: European framework for action on alcohol 2022–2025
- Financial and administrative implications for the Secretariat of decision to adopt European framework for action on alcohol 2022–2025 (EUR/RC72/CONF./10 Add.1):
- Background document (EUR/RC72/BG/4 ): Turning down the alcohol flow. Background document on the European framework for action on alcohol, 2022–2025
- Information sheet (EUR/RC72/BG/14): European framework for action on alcohol, 2022–2025. Information sheet
All documentation can also be accessed via the interactive program: European framework for action on alcohol 2022–2025, Documents EUR/RC72/12, EUR/RC72/CONF./10, EUR/RC72/CONF./10 Add.1, EUR/RC72/BG/4, EUR/RC72/BG/14.
Movendi International is represented at WHO EURO RC72 and engaging through bilateral and coalition-driven advocacy.
Movendi International will be calling on WHO Member States and the WHO Secretariat for the European Region to adopt the European framework for action on alcohol 2022–2025.
Movendi International and our members in the European region welcome the European framework for action on alcohol 2022–2025. We endorse the evidence-based language of the Framework. We support the six areas for priority action. They provide a concrete focus on the most cost-effective alcohol policy solutions, while supporting national adaptation in response to local challenges.
- To adopt the draft decision European framework for action on alcohol 2022–2025.
- To ensure full resourcing of the implementation of the framework for action.
- To develop technical guidance for how to protect alcohol policy from alcohol industry interference.
- To strengthen the governance of alcohol policy at regional level.
- To ensure effective mainstreaming of alcohol policy considerations in all relevant policy areas in health and beyond.
Movendi International and our members across the European region are ready to partner with governments and WHO EURO to help advance evidence-based, high-impact alcohol policy solutions, especially alcohol taxation and the other best buys.
Movendi International, through its Official Relationship Status with the WHO, will address the WHO EURO RC72 through two statements.
Movendi International developed a joint statement, together with 15 other civil society partner organizations. The joint statement will be delivered by Milka Sokolovic, Executive Director of EPHA.
The ten years since the adoption of the WHO Global Alcohol Strategy in 2010 must be considered a lost decade for alcohol policy development – especially in the WHO European Region.
In recognising the growing alcohol burden and the lack of progress over the past decade, Member States adopted the WHO Global Alcohol Action Plan (GAAP) at the World Health Assembly in May 2022. The GAAP is also backed by an ambitious statement delivered by Kenya on behalf of all African Union member states.
Now, it is time for WHO and countries in the European Region to build on the momentum and accelerate action on alcohol in sub-Saharan Africa.
We are deeply concerned about the growing health inequalities affecting especially vulnerable groups: the unborn child, youth, older people, people on lower incomes, and children of households with alcohol problems.
The practices of the alcohol industry in our region are of major concern. A recent WHO Europe report detailed how the digital ecosystem is used by alcohol companies to promote alcohol consumption among children, youth, females, and other vulnerable groups. Alcohol industry interference still is a serious obstacle to public health centered alcohol policy action.
We call for urgent action to put alcohol policy on Regional Committee Meeting agenda to facilitate momentum for ambitious alcohol policy efforts to promote health and development.
- We urge Member States to adopt the framework.
- To make alcohol policy the priority it should be, we call on Member States and WHO to:
- Adequately resource full implementation of the framework, including at community level,
- Facilitate regular review of progress.
- Develop guidance to protect alcohol policy from industry interference, and
- Strengthen the governance of alcohol policy at regional level.
- We also call for effective mainstreaming of alcohol policy considerations in all relevant policy areas the WHO European Regional Office deals with.
Alcohol remains one of the leading risk factors contributing to the global burden of disease. It is the eight leading preventable risk factor of disease. The contribution of alcohol to the global disease burden has been increasing from 2.6% of DALYs* in 1990 to 3.7% of DALYs in 2019.
Europe has the highest rates of alcohol consumption per person, the highest prevalence of heavy episodic alcohol use, and the lowest rates of alcohol abstention in the world.
In high income countries alcohol use is the second fasted growing risk factor and in LMICs alcohol is the fourth fastest rising risk factor for the global disease burden.
- Out of 51 countries in the WHO European Region, only 16 reached the target of a 10% reduction of overall alcohol consumption between 2010-19. But 17 countries saw increases in alcohol use.
- Almost no progress was achieved since 2016 in the implementation of Best Buys alcohol policy solutions.
- Alcohol pricing policies remain the lowest priority in the region, even though they are the single most cost-effective measure.
- A recent landmark study found that introducing a minimum alcohol tax share of 15% for all alcoholic product types according to their alcohol content can prevent 132,906 deaths.
- Alcohol is the largest risk factor for disease burden in the group 25-49 years.
How alcohol companies fuel harm and hinder sustainable development in Europe and what can be done about it
The products and practices of the alcohol industry are causing severe harm to people and communities across the European region.
These are some of the latest examples:
At the World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board meeting in February 2020, Member States, called for accelerated action on alcohol as a public health priority. A decision was adopted by unanimous consent (EB 146), requesting the WHO and its director-general to develop an action plan (2022-2030) to effectively implement the WHOs Global Alcohol Strategy as a public health priority.
Since then, WHO has conducted an extensive consultation process lasting two years, to develop the global alcohol action plan to accelerate alcohol policy development and implementation as public health priority – an urgent need according to WHO Member States. The consultation process included global and regional engagements with Member States, one informal meeting and web-based consultation with civil society and academia, and – controversially – also the alcohol industry, despite their fundamental conflict of interest.