Coming to an Alcohol Control Policy for Timor-Leste

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Photo: WHO Timor-Leste

Current Draft of Alcohol Control Policy Framework Does Not Reflect Reality of Timor-Leste, says Fundasaun Mahein

February 28, 2020

Fundasaun Mahein (FM) believes the current alcohol control framework draft policy does not reflect Timor-Leste’s local context and urges a redraft of the framework that is uniquely Timorese, as argued in its latest report, Coming to an Alcohol Control Policy for Timor-Leste, released today in Dili, Timor-Leste.

While FM is pleased to see progress towards a national alcohol control policy, FM raises many serious concerns in its research report. These include:
• The proposal being drafted by international experts, none of which were Timorese
• The policy framework was written after only six days spent in Timor-Leste
• A lack of cultural understanding of the Timorese context
• A failure to significantly address the unregulated alcohol (tua sabu and tua mutin) that accounts for the majority of spirits produced and consumed in Timor-Leste
• A failure to address or balance public health imperatives for alcohol control with the economically vital role that alcohol production and trade plays for many individuals, families, and communities

FM acknowledges that the policy creation to control alcohol is a significant challenge for Timor-Leste, a country that is considered by the WHO to be the least restrictive country for alcohol consumption in all of Southeast Asia.

FM believes, however, that a redrafting of the draft framework is essential for the future success of the country and to properly address issues of today and the future.

“While it is important that we need the expertise of international advisors and experts, we also need to develop a policy framework that reflects the reality of Timor-Leste and its people. Currently, there is a disconnect,” said FM.

“We must learn from the successes of other nations, but we also need a unique framework that is sensitive to our local tradition and culture,” FM continued.

“We need to develop a framework that benefits and protects all Timorese, especially families, loja (kios) owners and small business owners,” said FM.



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