GAPA attends first meeting on Alcohol and Health in the Pacific

On 24-28 September 2004, GAPA participated in first ever meeting between Secretariat of the South Pacific (SPC) and the World Health Organization, attended by health officials from 19 countries around the Pacific.

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Participants at the SPC/WHO meeting in Noumea, 30 September 2004

On 24-28 September 2004, GAPA participated in a regional meeting on Alcohol and Health in the Pacific initiated by Secretariat of the South Pacific (SPC) and attended by the World Health Organization and by health officials from 19 countries around the Pacific.   Twenty years ago much of the Pacific was alcohol-free but there are now rising rates of problem drinking.  Drinking by young people is of great concern.  Data collection on consumption and alcohol related harm has been sporadic.  The Noumea meeting agreed that strong political commitment was needed to support and finance co-ordinated responses to alcohol problems.

Participants who had been at GAPA’s meeting in Auckland raised concerns about the inclusion of alcohol and tobacco in Pacific free trade agreements.  The final communiqué from the meeting addressed this trade issue.  The SPC and WHO were asked to help Pacific Island countries gather information on alcohol use, health and social consequences and economic costs.

The SPC undertook to support a network of Pacific people working on alcohol policies and strategies, in collaboration with WHO and in partnership with GAPA.