Community action is one of ten action areas outlined in the WHO Global Alcohol Strategy, highlighting how important community involvement is for preventing and reducing alcohol harm.
But the decade since the adoption of the WHO Global Alcohol Strategy in 2010 has largely been a lost decade. Alcohol’s contribution to the global burden of disease has been increasing. In high income countries alcohol use is the second fasted growing risk factor and in Low- and Middle Income Countries alcohol is the fourth fastest rising risk factor for the global disease burden.
Alcohol is the second largest risk factor for disease burden in the age group 10-24 years. Alcohol is the largest risk factor for disease burden in the group 25-49 years.
Most countries, especially low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), have NOT implemented a comprehensive set of alcohol policies. For example, no low-income country has reported increasing resources for implementing alcohol policy in the last decade.
Part of the problem is that communities have not been systematically and adequately involved in the response to alcohol harm.
A historic moment
But now, the World Health Assembly of the WHO is set to adopt a brand new Global Alcohol Action Plan with the ambition to make alcohol policy action a public health priority and accelerate efforts to protect more people from alcohol harm.
Between May 22 and 28, the World Health Assembly 75th session meets in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss and decide on (among many other topics) the WHO Global Alcohol Action Plan.
Analysis has shown that the term “community” is mentioned three times less than the term “economic operator” across the action plan. This indicates a persisting imbalance and lack of attention to the potential of involving communities and supporting community action in the response to alcohol harm.
Therefore it is urgent and vital to give voice to community perspectives at the World Health Assembly and to ensure community concerns are present and represented in the discussion about the new global alcohol action plan.
2nd WACAA objectives
The 2nd WACAA meeting is dedicated to discuss the draft global alcohol action plan and share community perspectives. To facilitate productive conversations, preparatory questions will be circulated.
We will explore communities’ analysis of the action plan:
- Does it have any added value for the community level?
- Does it have the potential to facilitate positive change in communities?
- Are there concerning and/ or promising elements in the action plan, from a community perspective?
- Are there elements that are totally missing?
The discussion of these and other questions will seek to co-create knowledge of and understanding for community experiences and know-how in alcohol policy as they relate to the WHO Global Alcohol Action Plan.
The discussion will generate key messages to be delivered to the World Health Assembly on behalf of the participants in order to make community perspectives heard and claim space in the policy discussion.
- Review and recapitulation of 1st WACAA: where are we now?
- Introduction and setting the scene for 2nd WACAA: context and program
- Discussion: group and plenary discussions about the preparatory questions
- Summary, key messages for the World Health Assembly, and way forward
May 11, 2022
9.00-11.00 Central European Summer Time