Skip to main content
The global health network on alcohol control: successes and limits of evidence-based advocacy
Health Policy and Planning (2015)
  • Hans Peter Schmitz, Syracuse University

Global efforts to address alcohol harm have significantly increased since the mid-1990s. By 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) had adopted the nonbinding Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol. This study investigates the role of a global health network, anchored by the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance (GAPA), which has used scientific evidence on harm and effective interventions to advocate for greater global public health efforts to reduce alcohol harm. The study uses process-tracing methodology and expert interviews to evaluate the accomplishments and limitations of this network. The study documents how network members have not only contributed to greater global awareness about alcohol harm, but also advanced a public health approach to addressing this issue at the global level. Although the current network represents an expanding global coalition of like-minded individuals, it faces considerable challenges in advancing its cause towards successful implementation of effective alcohol control policies across many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The analysis reveals that a need to transform the network into a formal coalition of regional and national organizations that represent a broader variety of constituents, including the medical community, consumer groups and development-focused non-governmental organizations.

Considering the growing harm of alcohol abuse in LMICs and the availability of proven and cost-effective public health interventions, alcohol control represents an excellent ‘buy’ for donors interested in addressing non-communicable diseases. Alcohol control has broad beneficial effects for human development, including promoting road safety and reducing domestic violence and health care costs across a wide variety of illnesses caused by alcohol consumption.

  • Alcohol,
  • networks,
  • governance,
  • advocacy,
  • health policy,
  • addiction,
  • policy analysis
Publication Date
August 14, 2015
Publisher Statement
This article has been accepted for publication in Health Policy and Planning ©: 2014 Hans Peter Schmitz; Published by Oxford University Press [on behalf of Hans Peter Schmitz]. All rights reserved.
Citation Information
Hans Peter Schmitz. "The global health network on alcohol control: successes and limits of evidence-based advocacy" Health Policy and Planning Iss. doi: 10.1093/heapol/czu064 (2015)
Available at: