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Nepal passes new National Alcohol Policy

The Nepalese Government passed a “National Policy on Regulation and Control of Alcohol-2017” on Monday, imposing a total ban on alcohol advertisement, promotion and sponsorship.

Alcohol bottlesThe National Alcohol Policy has been in the making in the Ministry of Health for quite some time and the drafting committee has included representatives from civil society organisations. While the initiative was taken by the Ministry of Health, other ministries (Law and Justice, Home, etc.) were brought on board in finalizing the draft. Child rights activists and public health promoters have all worked hard to get this policy through.

The civil society representatives called the policy a success and expressed satisfaction with the Cabinet endorsing it.

Rashmila Shakya who is Programmes Director at Child Workers in Nepal (CWIN), representative of one of the engaged NGOs, says: "It is definitely a comprehensive policy based on WHO's Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. It was really good that the leader and members of the task force were convinced that it should based on the Global strategy." 

The policy is still only available in Nepali, but according to press reports it will require producers to put health warnings on alcohol containers, set a 21 year age limit for alcohol purchase, regulate time of alcohol sales, require licensing of alcohol outlets and impose a ban on all kinds of alcohol advertisements and promotions, including sponsorship.

It is expected that following the policy an “Alcohol Control and Regulation Bill” will be formulated.

"Now, we have a challenge of effectively implementing the policy. We need the law immediately in order to be able to implement and we need strong monitoring mechanisms. Besides this, it important to educate people and stakeholders about the law and harms. We look forward for Nepal government taking initiatives and Civil society is there to support," Shakya says.