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The Worldwide Brewing Alliance meets in Geneva for health strategy discussions

On 15/05/13 by Andy Tighe (Policy Director)

With the World Health Assembly just a week away, the Worldwide Brewing Alliance (WBA) , which I currently chair, held a productive beer reception in Geneva on Monday evening. The event was a final opportunity to discuss the WHO Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD) Global Action Plan which is due to be ratified at the forthcoming Assembly. It was also an opportunity to showcase the actions being taken by brewers across the world to tackle the harmful use of alcohol.

In 2010, member states adopted the WHO Global Strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. The Strategy lists ten key policy areas that WHO members should consider when developing national strategies whilst taking account of local circumstances. It rightly recognises that there is no ‘one-size-fits all’ set of solutions. The brewing industry is keen to see a consistent approach taken in the NCD Action Plan which also has reducing alcohol misuse as a key element within it.

Indeed, following concerns raised regarding earlier drafts, the final draft NCD action plan is more consistent with the Global Strategy. However, some outstanding areas of concern remain and these were highlighted to the 30 plus attendees at the Reception, which included among them Ambassadors, Counsellors and Geneva-based Mission Representatives from around 20 countries across the world.

It remains to be seen whether the final adopted version fully reflects the views of the brewing industry, as negotiations between member states continue. However, it was a successful evening and one welcomed by missions in Geneva as a chance to build contacts with the brewing industry and enjoy a beer or two (in moderation!) with counterparts from other countries.


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