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Global Alcohol Producers Group (GAP Group), which represents 16 leading global drinks firms in dialogue with the World Health Organization (WHO), has backed a resolution entitled "strategies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol", agreed by the 193 WHO member countries at the annual session of the World Health Assembly this week.

GAP Group said it believed the resolution is "balanced and constructive", as it acknowledges the importance of different national, religious and cultural contexts, and proposes a global strategy consisting of a set of proposed measures that governments will tailor to their culture and needs.

"Although alcohol is enjoyed responsibly and in moderation most of the time by most consumers who choose to drink, a minority of individuals misuse alcohol products," said Chris Swonger, senior vice president, corporate affairs at Beam Global, and a member of GAP Group. "For this reason, we support the WHA resolution on 'strategies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol'. Combating the harmful use of alcohol by this minority who put themselves or others in harm's way will ensure that the global strategy targets the problems at the point where they can most efficiently be tackled."

However, GAP Group cautioned against a singular focus on high taxes and restrictions on availability. Such "quick-fix solutions" on their own, the association said, are ineffective in addressing and assisting the minority who misuse alcohol and may result in unintended consequences such as black markets and illicit production.
GAP Group said its members look forward to working with the WHO as it develops a global alcohol strategy over the next two years. The resolution mandates the WHO to consult with economic operators, and GAP Group said its members are eager to make their experience and insights available to the organisation as it develops the strategy.

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