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Eurocare response to WHO Online open written consultation on the European Programme of Work World Health Organization Europe

Eurocare and its members welcomes the online written consultation on the WHO European Work Program. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the need to significantly boost Europe’s preparedness and capability to respond effectively to major cross border health threats. It has also shown the need for prevention as people with additional problems related to non-communicable diseases has been worse hit.

Given Eurocare’s profile, comments will be given to areas in which it possesses expertise, mainly prevention of alcohol related harm.

Europe is the heaviest drinking region in the world with 9.8 litres of pure alcohol per person (15 + years), well-above the global average of 6.4 litres. Drinking alcohol is associated with a risk of developing more than 200 different types of diseases . Every day in EU+ countries around 800 people die from alcohol attributable causes (291.000 per year). The main cause of death due to alcohol in 2016 was cancer (29% of alcohol-attributable deaths) .

Eurocare warmly supports the opportunities WHO has given for Non State Actors’ s(NSA) to contribute to the EPW and its flagship initiatives by providing suggestions on its implementation, after the adoption of the EPW by the Member States at the Regional Committee in September 2020.

We are delighted to provide our suggestions on how to work together in practical terms on these topics. Non-State actors such as National and European umbrella organisations are serving as grassroots organisations by collecting their voices and representing them to national level decision makers but also to regional organisations such as the European Union, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development or WHO Europe.

Eurocare does not find it appropriate that the WHO consults and has meetings with economic operators like the alcohol producers when health policy and strategies are being discussed. If these meetings take place, they should be open and transparent, with Member State and civil society organisations present.

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