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WHO Executive Board recommends alcohol strategy to Assembly

On Friday 22 January the WHO Executive Board Session passed a resolution which recommends to the World Health Assembly (WHA) to endorse the Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol.

Last week the WHO Executive Board 126th Session passed resolution EB126.R11 "Strategies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol" which "Having considered the report on strategies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol and the draft global strategy annexed therein" recommends to the Sixty-third World Health Assembly (WHA) the adoption a resolution which endorses the global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.

The resolution adopted by the Executive Board for consideration by the WHA "affirms that the global strategy aims to give guidance for action at all levels; to set priority areas for global action; and that it is a portfolio of policy options and measures that could be considered for implementation and adjusted as appropriate at the national level, […]" 

During the Executive Board there were three informal sessions of negotiations between interested member states and as a result the board recommends the World Health Assembly to endorse a slightly amended draft global strategy on harmful use of alcohol. The negotiations were reportedly held in a good atmosphere and the resolution was passed with consensus and overwhelming support expressed. The compromise revisions to the draft Global strategy are now available from the WHO web page following the process of preparing a draft global strategy to reduce harmful use of alcohol (see link below).   

Director-General Margaret Chan (picture right), in her opening speech at the EB, mentioned several of the issues on the agenda for the meeting, among them alcohol. She ended her speech by pointing out that: "Many items on your agenda address transnational threats or deal with problems that are best managed at the international level. [...] This is true for the harmful use of alcohol. The report documents a wide and alarming range of harms, and also gives you a range of policy options and intervention measures, including at the regulatory level."

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(Pictures: WHO/Thierry Parel)