GAPA meets with Asia Pacific NGOs

Organized by Global Alcohol Policy Alliance (GAPA) and SHORE (Centre for Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation), Massey University, co-sponsored by the World Health Organization. Auckland, New Zealand, 9-12 December 2005.

In December 2005 47 representatives from 26 countries gathered at Massey University for the opening of the conference. The objectives of the meeting were to:

  • Build a network of NGOs in the region, involved in supporting effective alcohol policies.
  • Build regional/sub regional linkages between NGOs, key agencies and civil society.
  • Strengthen awareness and understanding of effective alcohol policy in the Asia Pacific region.
  • Engage NGOs in the region in community action to support development and implementation of effective alcohol policy.

dr-ashley-bloomfieldDr Ashley Bloomfield, on behalf of the New Zealand Ministry of Health, welcomed delegates to the meeting. The Ministry had helped to sponsor the meeting with a grant from New Zealand Aid to bring delegates from the Pacific Islands. He particularly welcomed delegates from the Asia Pacific Region, New Caledonia, Fiji, Kiribate, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Cook Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, Cambodia, China, India, Korea,, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

dag-rekve2005Dag Rekve of WHO presented the background and the content of the resolution passed by the Fifty-eighth World Health Assembly in May 2005 (WHA58.26 Public Health Problems Caused by Harmful Use of Alcohol).

dr-xiandon-wangDr. Xiandong Wang from WPRO informed the meeting that a Regional Strategy was being developed and consultation on a draft will be undertaken at a technical meeting in Manila in March 2006. It is anticipated the strategy will be on the agenda for the WPRO Regional Committee meeting in September 2006. It is intended to be used as a framework or national policy and an action plan; to be guiding regional and sub-regional collaboration; and to be a tool for advocacy.

During the conference it became evident that whether one came from a small island or a large country there was a commonality of problems which NGO’s faced. All were experiencing an increase in alcohol consumption and related harm especially among young people. Countries had much to share with one another and the need to establish a network of non governmental organizations throughout the region was unanimously agreed.

After the meeting the nongovernmental delegates held a meeting to formulate:
a letter to the WHO.