Alcohol-related harm is a critical public health concern across the island of Ireland. Strategies in both jurisdictions highlight the need for cross-departmental and cross-sectoral engagement to reduce alcohol consumption and harms. In addition, the Steering Group Report on a National a Substance Misuse Strategy makes a specific recommendation to strengthen collaboration and coordination on alcohol on a North-South basis.
In the context of this policy mandate, Chief Medical Officers in both jurisdictions requested that the Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) facilitate enhanced North-South collaborative working on alcohol. A North-South Alcohol Policy Advisory Group was established in late 2012
Many benefits can be accrued through enhanced North-South cooperation on alcohol policies and programmes including:
- Mutually beneficial learning through sharing of ideas and experience
- The development of key relationships for sharing knowledge and access to knowledge networks
- Development of united and strong cross-jurisdictional messages to influence policy in favour of health and the reduction of alcohol-related harm on the island
- Economies of scale in the coordinated roll-out of programmes, evaluations and media campaigns
- Harmonised approaches to cross-border issues such as alcohol pricing and legislation
- Opportunities to support implementation of successful programmes from one jurisdiction in another and compare different policy approaches
- Enhanced capacity to participate in wider European and global work on alcohol including research applications.
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