The World Health Organization Secretariat has concluded a one-day consultation with representatives from the alcohol industry. In attendance at the meeting were representatives from 15 companies.
The purpose and scope of the consultation, as mandated by the World Health Assembly Resolution 58.26, has been to inform participants about World Health Organization activities related to the resolution and as an exchange of information on the industry initiatives in order to limit the health impact of harmful alcohol consumption. The discussions focused on three areas: production of alcohol beverages, the distribution process, and the end consumer marketing, sales and consumption context.
This meeting forms part of a broad based consultation process by WHO, and will be followed by the meetings with International Organizations, Nongovernmental Organizations and other relevant stakeholders with the objective of exchanging information relevant to WHO's technical work on reduction of health consequences of the harmful use of alcohol and promoting implementation of effective policies and programmes to reduce harmful alcohol consumption.
In WHA resolution 58.26, passed in May 2005, WHO Secretariat has been asked by its member states to undertake a comprehensive assessment of public health problems caused by the harmful use of alcohol, developing recommendations on effective policies and interventions to reduce alcohol-related harm, and supporting Member States with implementation and evaluation of recommended strategies and programmes.
WHO, as a technical agency, develops its recommendations for effective policies and interventions relating to alcohol on the basis of available scientific evidence. It takes advice from its technical advisory bodies, such as expert committees, and also takes into consideration relevant results of consultations with different stakeholders, including the alcohol industry.
The harmful use of alcohol has now become one of the most important risks to health: it ranks third in developed countries as a risk factor, and is the leading risk factor in developing countries with low mortality rates. Global alcohol consumption has increased in recent decades, most or all of the increase occurring in developing countries. Worldwide use of alcohol is estimated to have caused 3.2% of all deaths, and 4% of the burden of disease (World health report 2002).
WHO Mental Health and Substance Abuse website - Alcohol Industry consultation
- WHA resolution 58.26 - 'Public health problems caused by harmful use of alcohol':