Alcohol use is a common risk factor among Mongolians, and contributes to the high prevalence of noncommunicable diseases, including road traffic injuries. A WHO STEPS survey on the prevalence of risk factors for noncommunicable diseases revealed that 66.9% (2005) and 58.5% (2009) of the population consumed alcohol drinks on regular basis.
Under the leadership of the President of Mongolia, a national network of 80 governmental and non-governmental organizations was established to implement an “Alcohol Free Mongolia Initiative”, the aim of which is to increase public awareness, formulate policies and establish a legal environment to reduce the consequences of alcohol use. WHO is continuing to provide technical and financial support to the President's Office and Ministry of Health to achieve this goal.
The President launched the Alcohol Free Mongolia Initiative by advocating drinking a glass of milk instead of alcoholic at every official function. Advocacy work to increase funds for health promotion from an excise tax on alcohol was successful with WHO technical and financial support. Today, the Health Promotion Foundation of Mongolia is funded from 1% of excise tax from sales of alcohol products, in addition to a 2% excise tax on tobacco. To date, US$2.3 million has been collected and spent on prevention and promotion.
A national network aimed at a Mongolia without alcohol was established. Within this intitiave, the national network under the leadership of the Office of the President developed a draft law on alcohol prevention and control to be presented to the Parliament of Mongolia in spring session of 2012.
In addition, the Wedding Palace of Mongolia has become an alcohol free venue, with a toast with milk replacing champagne.