The European Alcohol Policy Alliance (Eurocare)is one of the leading independent NGOs working on alcohol policies in Europe. It is an alliance of about 50 public health organisations from 23 European countries dedicated to the prevention and reduction of alcohol related harm. Member organisations are involved in advocacy and research, as well as in the provision of information and training on alcohol issues, and the provision of services for peoples whos lives are affected by alcohol related problems.
Eurocare`s vision is a Europe where alcohol related harm no longer is one of the leading risk factors for ill-health, early death, violence and disability, where innocent third parties no longer suffer from the drinking of others and where the EU and its Member States acknowledge the harm done by alcohol and implement effective and comprehensive policies to tackle it.
The mission of Eurocare is to raise awareness among decision makers of the harms caused by alcohol and to ensure that these are taken into consideration in relevant EU policy discussions, as well as to promote the development and implementation of evidence based policies and effectively preventing and reducing the burden brought in by alcohol.
To achieve its mission Eurocare seeks to; influence policy makers, establish collaboration with other organizations sharing our concerns, advocate effective and evidence based alcohol policies, monitor relevant policy developments, monitor marketing practices of the alcohol industry, disseminate information and knowledge through reports, position papers,web site and newsletter.
Our message in regards to alcohol consumption is "less is better".
The general objective of Eurocare and its members is to prevent and reduce alcohol related harm in Europe by influencing the European Institutions and Member States (MS) so that they acknowledge and challenge the problem.
Eurocare aims for a Europe where:
-the total alcohol consumption is down by 20% from 1990 to 2020
-there is more awareness and a better understanding of the risks / problems linked to alcohol consumption among the general public
-children and young people are less affected by the harm caused by alcohol
-the minimum age for purchasing alcoholic beverages is 18
-there is no marketing of alcoholic beverages affecting young people
-blood alcohol concentration level (BAC) for driving is 0,2 and it is properly enforced
-accurate information about the product is provided on alcohol labels (as a minimum Kcal, allergens, alcoholic strength and health warnings)
To achieve these objectives Eurocare conducts amongst others the following activities:
- monitors relevant policy developments;these are difficult to plan long time in advance and will vary according to ongoing policy discussions.
- engages in dialogue with decision makers to ensure that the harms caused by alcohol
(social, health and economic burden) are taken into consideration in relevant policy discussions and advocates the development and implementation of effective and evidence-based policies to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm. To that end Eurocare carries out advocacy campaigns, responds to EU consultations, publishes position papers acording to the relevant agenda;
- Eurocare participates in the EU Health Policy Forum;
- Eurocare participates and is a founding member of the EU Alcohol and Health Forum;
- provides information through its monthly newsletter and on the website on: Eurocare and its members activities, upcoming events in the alcohol field, news on alcohol policies and activities from the European Institutions, World Health Organization, as well as news from across Member States;
- provides a forum for European organizations with responsibilities in the field of alcohol with the aim of establishing a closer cooperation and collaboration between them;
- facilitates the collection, analysis, dissemination and the use of data relating to alcohol consumption in Europe, through its participation in European projects, organisation of events, website, e-newsletter etc;
- regularly provides information to its Members through the organisation of meetings and events, publications, website and newsletter updates;
- seeks collaboration with non-governmental organisations sharing Eurocare`s concerns;
- Eurocare members participate in consultations on position papers, strategy documents, press releases and dissemination of letters to Head of States etc
- represents European NGOs in the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance.
Eurocare`s primary target is to work towards policy and decision makers to secure consideration of alcohol related harm in all EU policies. To this end Eurocare seeks to influence key decision makers within both the MS and the EU Institutions. There are several issues that Eurocare is continuously focusing on: food information - labelling (ingredient listing and kcal), health and safety warning labels (no alcohol during pregnancy, no drink and drive, etc), volume of alcohol advertising and marketing. In 2013 Eurocare with its nembers will design and initiate a series of alcohol policy debates among MS representatives, policy and decision makers, public health experts and other stakeholders. The primary aim of these debates will be to enhance cooperation and exchange of knowledge and good practices, starting with discussing minimum pricing of alcohol and how it can be implemented in Member States.
In the light of the expiration of the Alcohol Strategy Eurocare will continue advocating towards a continuation of an Alcohol Strategy. In the past Eurocare has organised events in the EP marking the international FASD day, it will continue this practice with an event in 2013.
Eurocare is very committed to protecting consumers and strongly believes that alcoholic beverages should provide information on nutrition and ingredients. In 2013 Eurocare will update and produce a new paper on the subject.
Eurocare is a collaborating partner with the European Partnership Action Against Cancer. The aim is to raise awareness and action on the political agenda in relation to links between alcohol and cancer. In 2012 the partnership developed a website www.alcoholandcancer.eu. In 2013 they will continue with the maintenance and gathering of information on the website and strive towards making it the objective source of information for anyone interested in the subject.
Throughout the last years Eurocare has focused on the crucial role of alcohol marketing, in 2013 it will together with its members across Europe strive to produce a snapshot of online advertising. It will also cooperate with the European Association Communications Agencies on the Adventure Competition.
Eurocare will continue to work to ensure that alcohol receives the attention it deserves in the current debate on actions to tackle chronic diseases.
Eurocare`s membership is the foundation of its existence, credibility and legitimacy. Maintenance, development, service and support to members are main-streamed into all activities. In order to perform its essential functions it is necessary for Eurocare to be adequately balanced and representative of the different strands of alcohol work and Member States. One of the main objectives is to build capacity to enable members to engage in decision making processes and increase the advocacy of evidence based policy at all levels, to actively foster cooperation and exchange of knowledge among members (and other NGOs).
Dissemination of information is one of Eurocare`s core activities; the dissemination plan developed in 2012 will be implemented. The secretariat will provide timely, accurate and useful information that supports the work of the members and facilitates the sharing of good practice. The newsletter is sent on average every 4 weeks and includes information on EU policies/activities, updates from MS, the secretariat and members etc. Policy briefings and reports are produced according to the current activities or at the request of the Board or the members (who are always consulted). Eurocare raises awareness of the harm caused by alcohol and effective policy solutions such as enforcement of age limits, availability and affordability, enforcement of BAC for drivers, taxation and price through multiple channels. With a number of channels to follow communication activities have increasingly consumed more time of the secretariat drawing attention away from a traditional means of networking therefore the staff needs to be strengthened in order to follow this up.
Furthermore, continued support from the secretariat is needed to engage and coordinate members` input into the activities of the EU Alcohol and Health Forum and the EU Health Policy Forum.