Background in the EU strategy on
The EU strategy to support Member States in reducing alcohol related harm,
launched in 2006, aims at reducing harm among children, young people and adults.
Key areas for action also include strengthening the evidence base and raising
awareness of alcohol related harm and consumption parterns. Joint Action RARHA
focus on these underpinning priorities.
Joint Action by Member
Joint Action is a (particular type of) project
created in the framework of the 2nd EU health programme 2008-2013, aimed at
mobilising Member States’ health authorities in joint action on a theme that has
clear EU added value. It is therefore an ideal instrument for taking forward
work on topics that have been on the agenda in the EU Committee on National
Alcohol Policy and Action (CNAPA), formed by Member States’ representatives. The
concept of RARHA has been developed within CNAPA and it functions as the
Advisory Group for the Joint Action.
Wide range of countries and
Wide participation in RARHA demonstrates the need
across Europe to tackle alcohol related harm through public health policies and
the importance of a solid knowledge base for policy planning. At the launch of
RARHA in January 2014, all but one EU Member States were on board and, in
addition, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
The actual partners are for
the most part public health institutes or other expert organisations in the
field of health, designated by national Ministries of Health. Some 60 partners
are involved, either as associate partners, with an operating project budget
co-funded by the EU, or as collaborating partners who either follow the work and
provide input as appropriate, or who participate actively in the work on their
own cost. In Joint Actions, the minimum co-funding required from Member States
is 50% but in RARHA national funding amounts to 54% of a total of € 3,3 million,
also reflecting the importance accorded to the initiative by the participating
The level of EU funding varies from 79% for the European NGOs
Eurocare and EuroHealthNet, designated as participants by the Commission, to
zero for international expert organisations such as WHO Regional Office for
Europe, OECD Health Division and Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe. The
EMCDDA and Eurostat also actively following RARHA’s work.
Focus on three topics
Action RARHA is focused on three core work areas:
· Providing cross-country comparable data on levels and patterns of
alcohol consumption and on alcohol related harms experienced due to own alcohol
use or due to drinking by other people (Work Package 4).
· Fostering consensus on good practice principles regarding the setting
of guidelines on low-risk or high-risk drinking to help reduce harm from alcohol
(Work Package 5).
· Facilitating exchange of good practices among health authorities by
compiling into a Toolkit examples of successful use of information/education to
reduce alcohol related harm (Work Package 6).
Input into policy processes
information and tools developed in RARHA will serve the planning of public
health policies on alcohol. An interlinked aim is to support the renewal of the
EU alcohol strategy. The aims set in 2006 have not yet been reached and the
cornerstones for success – up-to-date knowledge base and wide awareness of
alcohol related harms – still require more work.
The RARHA work process
includes expert/policy makers meetings to discuss findings and ways forward.
Part of the results will be presented in the form of policy briefs. RARHA is due
to end with a final conference in 2016, which is probably the earliest possible
year for the launch of a new EU alcohol strategy.