In May 2010, the sixty-third session of the World Health Assembly, meeting in Geneva, endorsed a global strategy to reduce harmful use of alcohol. It affirmed that the strategy represented a portfolio of policy options and measures that could be considered by Member States, taking into account differing religious and cultural contexts and differing public health priorities. It urged WHO regions and Member States to take steps to adopt and implement that strategy. This has triggered a ten-year implementation phase, with the first major milestone in 2013, when WHO is required to report on progress.
Industry has been involved as a legitimate stakeholder throughout the development of the strategy, which acknowledges that there is a need for comprehensive action across numerous sectors, including the beverage alcohol industry, governments, and civil society organizations. It further acknowledges that there is a distinction between alcohol consumption per se and the harmful use of alcohol. The sponsors of the International Center for Alcohol Policies (1) (ICAP) believe that the strategy, while it cannot aspire to meet the expectations of all stakeholders in every respect, is an important and constructive step forward in helping to address issues related to the misuse of alcohol around the world.
When WHO reports on progress relating to the implementation of the strategy in 2013, many industry players, not only ICAP sponsors, will wish to demonstrate that in addition to contributing to the development of the strategy, they subsequently played an active role, whether in partnership with other stakeholders or acting independently, in contributing to its implementation.
This is the context that has led to the development of these guidelines which are offered for use by the beverage alcohol industry. Although they have been prepared by ICAP, at the request of the CEOs of ICAP’s sponsors, they are intended as a resource for any industry body that has an interest in supporting policies and initiatives to reduce harmful use of alcohol. That would include trade associations, social aspects organizations (SAOs), and bodies such as the Global Alcohol Producers Group. ICAP’s role will be to offer advice, expertise, and technical support where needed.
|1) ICAP (www.icap.org) is a not-for-profit organization, supported by major producers of beverage alcohol. ICAP aims to promote dialogue involving the drinks industry, the research and public health communities, government, and civil society, encouraging them to work together. ICAP has a significant track record of collaboration with governments, public health and nongovernmental organizations, researchers and academia, and the beverage alcohol industry. Partnerships in both policy development and harm reduction programs provide considerable opportunities to address local, national, regional, and global needs. ICAP provides resources on each of these levels.