Scotland hosts Global Alcohol Policy Conference

By EASL EU Public Affairs October 14,2015

Over the last years Scotland has taken courageous steps in the area of public health to reduce alcohol related harm. As was reported by EASL earlier this autumn the Scottish government has been trying to introduce Minimum Unit Pricing on alcohol. Within this context Alcohol Focus Scotland hosted the Global Alcohol Policy Conference (GAPC2015) organised by the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance.

The theme of the conference was - momentum for change: research and advocacy reducing alcohol harm. The main objective of the conference was to provide a platform for alcohol researchers and advocates from around the world to share knowledge about the evidence and effective alcohol policies.

The three-day conference focused on the issues of better implementation of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Alcohol Strategy and better regulation of alcohol marketing. Over 400 delegates from 50 countries were present (including EASL representative).

The opening speech was given by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who expressed her government’s commitment to prioritising alcohol policy. She welcomed delegates to the conference with the aim to share the wealth of knowledge and experience.

She went on to state that no responsible government can ignore any issue which is as big as alcohol related harm. She pointed to the fact that Scotland has one of the highest levels of liver cirrhosis in the European Union (EU). The First Minister pointedly reminded delegates that according to statistics, 10 people in Scotland would have died due to alcohol related harm during the three days of the conference.

GAPC2015 adopted a manifesto which reaffirms commitment to evidence based actions to reduce alcohol related harm. The manifesto noted the need for alcohol specific indicators in monitoring progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals. The conference manifesto draws on the rights of the child as described in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and calls on governments to ensure that children are protected from alcohol related harm. Furthermore, the manifesto called on civil society and governments to support and implement WHO’s global strategies on alcohol and non-communicable diseases focusing on the most effective and cost effective actions including the WHO three ‘best buy’s:

  • increasing the price of alcohol;
  • reducing its physical availability
  • and restricting its marketing
  • as well as effective implementation and enforcement of proven strategies for reducing drink-driving.

The GAPC2015 manifesto also drew attention to the dangers to public health emerging from the global trade agreements. Last but not least the conference manifesto called on the need to restrict alcohol marketing.

For the full conference programme and more information please contact Aleksandra.kaczmarek@easloffice.eu