WHO process to develop an alcohol action plan
Starting with a discussion at the 72nd World Health Assembly in 2019 WHO embarked on a process leading to the 75th World Health Assembly in 2022 getting ready for discussing a WHO alcohol action plan 2022-2030. Below is an overview over developments along with GAPA positions throughout this process.
Report on the implementation of the Global strategy and the way forward
The World Health Organization (WHO) ‘Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol’ was endorsed at the World Health Assembly in 2010. Aproaching 10 years of implementation the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May 2019 requested the WHO Director-General to “to report to the Seventy-third World Health Assembly in 2020, through the Executive Board, on the implementation of WHO’s global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol during the first decade since its endorsement, and the way forward”.
Following the WHA the WHO Secretariat started the working on the report, including a consultation process with Member States and non-state actors. WHO issued a discussion paper outlining the implementation of the global strategy and opportunities for the way forward.
Analysis of submissions to WHO consultation
The WHO Secretariat work on the assignment “to report to the Seventy-third World Health Assembly in 2020, through the Executive Board, on the implementation of WHO’s global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol during the first decade since its endorsement, and the way forward” included a consultation on some key questions.
June Leung analysed the submissions to the WHO consultation. A total of 189 submissions were received. They included 29 submissions from member states and governmental institutions, four from UN system and other intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), seven from academic institutions, 107 from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and 42 from private sector entities.
Summary of submissions to WHO consultation on Global alcohol strategy implementation
June Leung, SHORE & Whariki Research Centre, Massey University, New Zealand, prepared this summary of submissions in the WHO 2019 web-based consultation on the implementation of the WHO global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol since its endorsement, and the way forward.
WHO Executive Board decision to develop an action plan
In February 2020, the WHO Executive Board in its decision EB146 (14) called for accelerated action to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. The Board requested the WHO Director-General “to develop an action plan (2022-2030) to effectively implement the Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol as a public health priority, in consultation with Member States and relevant stakeholders.”
Working document on the action plan
In November 2020, WHO issued a‘Working document for development of an action plan to strengthen implementation of the Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol’ and started an online consultation until 13 December. For this consultation GAPA and Vital Strategies issued a joint statement underlining three key points to strengthen the draft Plan. GAPA has also issued some key advocacy points for the consultation and made a corresponding submission.
Joint statement from GAPA and Vital Strategies on WHO Working Document
Joint statement from GAPA and Vital Strategies regarding WHO consultation on the Working Document for the development of an action plan to strengthen implementation of the Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol.
Analysis of submissions to the Working Document consultation
In the Working Document consultation a total of 251 submissions was received. Jene Leung analysed the submissions and wrote a paper summarising the findings. More than half of the submissions came from civil society organisations, about a quarter from industry organisations. The remaining were from governmental institutions, and from organisations with unknown affiliations. In comparison to the 2019 web-based consultation on ‘implementation of the Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol and the way forward’, entities representing the alcohol industry had substantially increased their number of submissions (from 43 to 63). In addition, in the last category, organisations with unknown affiliations, many were think tanks belonging to the Atlas Network, which was funded by the tobacco industry and consistently opposed the alcohol policy “best buys”.
Summary of 2020 web-based consultation on the WHO working document
June Leung, SHORE & Whariki Research Centre, Massey University, New Zealand, has prepared a Summary of the 2020 web-based consultation on the WHO working document Developing an action plan to strengthen implementation of the Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.
WHO released the first draft of the Global alcohol action plan in late July 2021. It was based on the previous Working Document and comments received during the open consultation. An online consultation on the Global alcohol action plan, first draft, was opened until 3 September 2021.
In it’s submission GAPA expressed that there had been improvements in several aspects of the document since the Working Document, but we also pointed out that there were several challenges remaining. In response to WHO’s explicit request for brief submissions with main points, GAPA developed some key points.
The second draft of the WHO alcohol action plan was released in early October 2021 for consultation with Member States only. CivilSociety was not invited to make submissions for the consultation, but an updated ‘Key points’ document was developed reflecting GAPA’s position on the second draft.
Final draft presented to the 150th WHO Executive Board meeting
The final draft of the action plan was discussed as part of the NCD agenda at the WHO Executive Board meeting in January 2022 and will be put forward for the World Health Assembly in May. Ahead of the EB meeting GAPA issued some key points for the debate on the alcohol action plan. GAPA also drew up a brief report of from the alcohol debate at the Executive Board meeting.
GAPA Key points for WHA EB debate on alcohol
For the discussion in the WHO Executive Board or any intersessional meetings, GAPA wants to ensure the text of the draft alcohol action plan is not weakened and want to promote some key issues.
WHO EB recommends Alcohol Action Plan
On January 27th the World Health Organisation (WHO) Executive Board (EB) meeting adopted a decision recommending the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May 2022 to adopt the “Draft action plan (2022–2030) to effectively implement the global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol as a public health priority”.
Alcohol Action Plan goes to the World Health Assembly
The WHO Alcohol Action Plan will be coming up at the 75th World Health Assembly (WHA) in the end of May 2022. Following its recommendation for adoption by the WHO Executive Board meeting (EB150) in January, GAPA is welcoming the final adoption of the action plan. If however Members States choose to open for negotiation of the text, GAPA has issued some key points policy position, with recommendations summarised in a one-page document and issued a joint statement together with the World Medical Association.
GAPA recommendations on the Global Alcohol Action Plan
The present draft Alcohol action plan will be discussed at the WHA75. Given its background and its bundling into the NCD suite of documents, GAPA support the adoption of the compromise text as it is. If, however, the matter is opened for negotiations in the WHA, GAPA recommends promoting the following in the action plan.
Key points for Alcohol Action Plan at World Health Assembly
The WHO Alcohol Action Plan will be coming up at the 75th World Health Assembly (WHA) in the end of May 2022. GAPA has issued the following policy position for the WHO deliberation of the Alcohol Action Plan.
WMA and GAPA joint statement
Coming up to the 75th World Health Assembly (WHA) deliberations on the Global Alcohol Action Plan the World Medical Association (WMA) and the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance (GAPA) have issued a joint statement welcoming the WHO commitment to boost the dynamic by developing an action plan (2022-2030) to effectively implement the Global strategy on alcohol.
WHA adopts Global Alcohol Action Plan
On Friday 27 May 2022, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, the 75th World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted the Global Alcohol Action Plan, in the making for two years. GAPA welcomes the decision by the WHA. Now words must be followed by action, globally and in the member countries. For that, adequate resources are needed, particularly in low and middle-income countries to address global inequities.