2nd Regional Alcohol Policy Youth Conference Report
2nd REAPYC gathered around 30 young people from different countries of the Baltic Sea region, some of them already familiar with the alcohol topic, others beginners, but all eager to learn.
Throughout the week participants got familiar with the topic of alcohol, they discussed why alcohol is a problem and got the knowledge about the alcohol industry and its tricks. The opening plenary offered participants a chance to listen to Nils Garnes from Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS), Lauri Beekmann from Nordic Alcohol and Drug Policy Network (NordAN), Simona Stankevičiūtė from Lithuanian Junior Doctors’ Association (JGA) and Lukas Galkus from APYN.
In addition, participants took a closer look on what youth organizations can do in the field of alcohol. Workshops on policy and advocacy, project development and youth research were held, where participants were able to get some practical experience on specific topics. In research workshop they concluded their own research, on project development they designed a new project and in advocacy they prepared their own advocacy campaign.
REAPYC was concluded with a study trip to Vilnius where the closing plenary session took place. Nijolė Goštautaitė-Midttun from Mental Health Initiative (MHI) talked about the role of NGOs in reducing alcohol related harm and good practices in Lithuania. Paulius Mikšys and Juozas Šerkšnas from youth NGO “Sober entertainment” presented a new movement of sober parties and encouraged young people to be more determined and establish similar initiatives in their own countries. Participants also presented their work from the workshops and discussed possible future initiatives and cooperation.
When closing the conference Lukas Galkus, the president of APYN, highlighted that REAPYC is really opportune and extremely relevant at present time. He said: “For the past 10 years WHO has constantly drawn attention to the region of the Baltic and Eastern Europe and its high alcohol consumption and alcohol related harm problems. We are one of the most problematic regions, therefore the inclusion of young people in the process of comprehension and solving of the problem is extremely important.”
Both APYN and LiMSA strongly believe that the Second Regional Alcohol Policy Youth Conference was not only a great opportunity for participants to exchange knowledge, good practices, and ideas but also to establish new partnerships and continue or start working in the field of alcohol in the future.