Global Strategy on Alcohol

In May 2010, the World Health Assembly adopted by consensus a  Global Strategy to reduce harmful alcohol use. Acknowledging the rise in alcohol harm worldwide and its detrimental impact on individuals, families and communities, world health leaders agreed to wide-ranging interventions to reduce the damaging effects of alcohol.  

The Global Strategy recognises that countries cannot tackle alcohol-related problems in isolation, particularly in light of the globalisation of the production, trade and marketing of alcoholic beverages, as well as the development of free trade agreements that have undermined the ability of national and local governments to regulate alcohol markets in the interests of public health.

The Global Strategy emphasises the implementation of effective interventions to reduce harm, including higher taxes and minimum unit prices for alcoholic drinks, and tighter restrictions on alcohol marketing.

The World Health Assembly

The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the supreme decision-making body for WHO. The WHA generally meets in Geneva each year. The main purpose of the WHA is to approve WHO’s programme of work and the budget, and to decide on major policy questions. The WHA is attended by delegations from 193 member states. All countries which are Members of the United Nations may become members of WHO by accepting its Constitution. 

Member state delegations to the WHA are made up of government representatives, usually from departments or ministries of health. The UK representative in previous years has been the Chief Medical Officer for England.