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WHO resolution on reducing alcohol harm: Overview

Published:  23 July, 2008

The World Health Organisation has released its draft resolution on alcohol harm reduction for adoption in May.

Some 34 member states of the Executive Committee of the World Health Organisation (WHO) met in January 2008 in Geneva and drafted a resolution to be submitted for adoption of the 61st World Health Assembly in 2008, Geneva on 19-24 May 2008.

The draft resolution makes a number of recommendations and requests for the WHO Director General.

Main points

Submit to the 63rd World Health Assembly in 2010, a draft global strategy to reduce harmful use of alcohol that is based on all available evidence and existing best practices and that addresses relevant policy options, taking into account different national, religious and cultural contexts, including national public health problems, needs and priorities, and differences in Member States' resources, capacities and capabilities

This strategy should optimally combine available measures and interventions that target the general population, vulnerable groups, individuals and specific problems

This strategy's aim is to support and complement public health policies in Member States, with special emphasis on an integrated approach to protect at-risk populations, young people and those affected by harmful drinking of others

To ensure that the draft global strategy will be composed of a set of proposed measures recommended for states to implement at a national level taking into account the national circumstances of each country,

To collaborate with member states as well as with intergovernmental organisations, health professionals, non-governmental organisations and economic operators on ways they could contribute to reducing harmful use of alcohol.

Vladimir Poznyak, WHO head of substance abuse, said: "It's the first attempt to limit harm from alcohol globally, from proposals formulated in a single document. The strongest evidence is for taxation and pricing."