Alcohol is a major obstacle to sustainable development.
Alcohol adversely impacts 13 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 52 of the 169 targets in the 2030 Agenda. It is, however, often overlooked in efforts to eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable development.
Major issues of development and sustainability are negatively impacted by alcohol harm, across all three dimension of sustainable development: the social, environmental and the economic one.
Alcohol and the Agenda 2030: 13 out of 17 SDGs adversely impacted
13 out of the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals, and 52 out of the 169 targets are adversely impacted by alcohol harm – and evidence shows that alcohol policy measures do hold substantial potential in contributing to achieving the SDGs.
- Alcohol harm is an obstacle to gender-equality and women empowerment. It’s a massive risk factor for gender-based violence.
- Alcohol use is a causal factor in the Tuberculosis and HIV/ AIDS epidemics.
- And it is one of four risk factors for the epidemic of Non-communicable diseases.
- Alcohol also fuels the vicious cycle of poverty, alcohol problems, ill-health and deprivation.
- It also fuels violence against and neglect of children, adolescents and youth.
- Alcohol production also depletes natural resources, jeopardising food and water security; and the production, distribution and retail of alcohol fuel global warming.
- And the massive costs and harms contribute to productivity losses, accidents and injuries in the workplace, as well as substantial losses in GDP in many countries.
- Alcohol harm causes and exacerbates inequalities.
Shattering Big Alcohol myths
In contrast to these facts, the alcohol industry perpetuates myths about its economic contribution to countries as well as myths about the effects of alcohol policies. The costs for alcohol harm are greater than the economic contribution of the alcohol industry.
To free people around the world from poverty, and to achieve the new SDGs, it is fundamental to address the role alcohol plays in creating and exacerbating poverty and hindering sustainable development. The equation is simple and tells decision-makers what to do: Less alcohol consumption means less alcohol harm, which means less poverty and more sustainable development.