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Forum Syd Sweden addresses alcohol and development

Alcohol is now recognised as a strategic development issue in Forum Syd, Sweden, according to a decision taken in the general assembly of the Forum. – A decision of great importance, comments Per-Åke Andersson from IOGT-NTO in Sweden.

2010-06-03
Dag Endal

Andersson says that this decision has made alcohol as an obstacle to development a concern for mainstream development NGOs in Sweden. Forum Syd is an umbrella organisation which gathers almost two hundred Swedish organisations working with international development cooperation and advocacy on global issues. The common aim is global justice.

At its annual meeting May 29 2010 in Stockholm, Forum Syd decided to include alcohol as a strategic development issue much in response to the resolution about a global alcohol strategy in the World Health Assembly on May 20. The IOGT-NTO movement, a member of Forum Syd, moved the issue in a context where an increasing number of organizations with development cooperation on the agenda, acknowledge the negative impact of alcohol on development. Rights are violated, poverty fuelled, more than 60 diseases and the spread of HIV are linked to alcohol, accidents, social disorder, crime and so on and so forth.

Per-Åke Andersson (picture right), programme officer at The International Institute of the IOGT-NTO movement, says - It is a great achievement, particularly as the board recommended the general assembly to turn down the motion. But a vast majority of the multitude of organizations that are getting more and more aware of the negative impact of alcohol on development supported the motion.

- My hope and wish is that SIDA, the Swedish International Development Agency, also acknowledges the strategic character of addressing alcohol in development cooperation. That would mean a lot to counter the aggressive moves by the alcohol industry to exploit markets in developing countries as well as to develop methods to deal with alcohol at local community level, says Per-Åke Andersson of IOGT-NTO Sweden.

Organisations in Sweden have a long tradition of working with the civil society in countries in the Global South and East. The aim of Forum Syd is to strengthen and develop this cooperation. Within the framework of Forum Syd organisations have the opportunity to exchange experiences and increase their own understanding, create new methods for development cooperation and cooperate to achieve better results. Forum Syd also strives to influence the policies of the UN, World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) on issues of importance for world development such as trade and debt.

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