WOCAD: We need global alcohol convention

WOCAD, Swedish women´s organisation, has started a petition to find support for global alcohol convention and demands that Sweden´s government would resume the management of the public health-based alcohol policy and that the government will work both in Europe and internationally for a Global Convention on Alcohol.

Globally, 3.3 million people die every year in an alcohol-related death (1 person every 10 seconds) according to WHO in 2014. Hundreds of thousands fall ill with cancer. Alcohol also causes harm and misfortune for relatives and other people around the drinker. Alcohol is the sole cause of about 25 chronic diseases and contributes to at least 200 diseases, according to the Public Health Agency in Sweden. The aggressive marketing of alcohol is increasingly targeted to girls and women.

Given what we all know today, it is time to work for a global convention on alcohol to reduce the alcohol-related disease burden. It is possible to do this!

Researchers at the Swedish conference “Agenda 2015” brought up the need for an alcohol convention. In order for something to happen WOCAD started a petition in support of a Global Convention on Alcohol to halve alcohol consumption by 2025. We demand that Sweden’s government resumes leadership of public health-based alcohol policy and that the government works both in Europe and internationally for a Global Convention on Alcohol.

At the EU level there was no current alcohol strategy 2015 and Sweden might end up without a strategy at the end of the year (before the new strategy would be decided on in the beginning of 2016.)

Sweden has taken the lead before! The WHO global alcohol strategy was adopted in 2010, after 5 years of pressure mostly from the Swedish government. 193 WHO Member States agreed on it. The strategy is toothless if the Member States are not interested in it.

A global Convention on alcohol needs a measurable goal: to halve alcohol consumption by 2025. There was a specific goal before, when WHO conducted alcohol/health issues, a 25% reduction in alcohol consumption by 2000. It is worth noting that all the Nordic countries have endorsed that goal. During the 1990’s the work towards the goal lessened – but there is no reason not to pick up where it stopped and continue working!

With the help of a global Convention on alcohol, the same control can be achieved in the alcohol field as currently exists for tobacco. The Tobacco Convention allows for us to phase out smoking by 2025 – it is believed that by then about 5% of the population in Sweden will smoke. Therefore it is not a question of banning production, sale, possession or use of tobacco.

Support WOCAD’s demand that the Swedish government should work for a global Convention on alcohol, with the specific goal to halve alcohol consumption by 2025!

In Sweden, this would mean a reduction from 9.4 to 4.7 liters of alcohol per person (over the age of 15) over the next 10 years.


For more information, please contact:

Leena Haraké, General Manager, WOCAD, tel +468101051 leena.harake@ksan.se