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Global Declaration Calls for Strong Alcohol Reform


The biennial conference of the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance held in Edinburgh last week, produced a Declaration calling for strong alcohol reform. The conference was opened by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who spoke with enthusiasm and commitment about Scotland’s journey towards enacting strong reform to reduce alcohol harm in her country.

Professor Jennie Connor, a medical spokesperson for Alcohol Action New Zealand, who spoke at the conference, said “it was very moving to be among alcohol researchers and public health advocates in a country where they have the support of their government to improve the health of the population in such a tangible way”.

The Declaration (attached) focuses on reforms of alcohol marketing, pricing and accessibility of alcohol, the WHO-endorsed three “best buys” for alcohol reform.

It also emphasises that commitments made by governments in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child require increased protection of children from harms associated with alcohol use.

Thirdly, the potential for trade treaties to block governments’ power to choose the best alcohol policies for their country was noted with concern in the Declaration. Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland was at the Edinburgh conference speaking about the implications of trade agreements including the TPPA.

“Each of these three aspects of the Declaration are either opposed or ignored by the New Zealand government” said Professor Doug Sellman, another medical spokesperson for Alcohol Action NZ. “Our government has undertaken pseudo alcohol reform over the past five years, ignored alcohol harm to children and is now busy risking future government’s ability to deal with the damaging drinking culture for dubious economic and political purposes”.

Professor Sally Casswell of Massey University was welcomed as the new Chair of the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance at the closing of the conference.


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