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Statement by Estonia at the WHO Forum on alcohol, drugs and addictive behaviours


WHO Forum on alcohol, drugs and addictive behaviours

ESTONIAN statement

Geneva, 28th June 2017


First of all, we would like to thank the WHO for convening this forum, the participants for bringing it to life, and state that Estonia is taking careful note of everything that is being said during these 3 days.

Tackling alcohol related harm is a matter Estonia takes very seriously, and we would therefore like to take a few minutes to share some of the actions we are taking and seek to take with our partners to reduce the burden of alcohol on our health, social system, workforce and economy.

Since 2009, awareness campaigns have been carried out in Estonia every single year, the excise rates have risen yearly since 2012 and we have launched a special programme to improve the quality and accessibility of treatment and counselling, as well as initiated rehabilitation projects for drunk-drivers. Right now, Estonia is in the process of revamping its regulations on alcohol marketing, implementing the elements of Loi Evin, whilst also limiting the display of alcohol in shops. It is through steady efforts like these that we have managed to reduce our alcohol intake from 11.8 litres of pure alcohol per person to 9.9 in two years’ time. The road ahead of us remains long, but we are fortunate enough to be accompanied and guided by our civil society organizations and by our friends and partners internationally

During our struggle to tackle alcohol related harm, we have experienced how closely we are connected in today’s open, borderless world. Though we celebrate open borders, we also recognize that they can make it difficult for a country to tackle alcohol-related harm. A country’s efforts to raise the prices of alcoholic beverages by taxation may be diluted by cross-border shopping, whilst attempts to curb young people’s exposure to marketing are watered down by cross-border and internet marketing.

It is because of this that during our upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union we will focus on having a discussion on cross-border aspects of alcohol policy. In addition to health, we would also like to invite sectors such as agriculture, culture and finances to the discussion, as they all have a significant impact on the consumption of alcohol, and can therefore play an important role in reducing the related harm. In seeking to reach a common understanding among EU member states, we do not anticipate an immediate breakthrough, yet we believe that the burden of alcohol abuse calls for more action, not for one, but for all countries together.

Thank you!



© Permanent Mission of the Republic of Estonia to the United Nations Office and other International Organisations in Geneva Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28A, Geneva
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