International Council on Alcohol and Addictions

Conseil international sur les problèmes de l’ alcoolisme et des toxicomanies

ICAA Sections

A requirement of all members of ICAA is that they are aligned with one or more ICAA Sections

The role of the Sections has been crucial in the history of ICAA. They have provided the topical core around which conferences have been built, they have attracted both conference attendees and new members, they have been have been premium arenas for peers meeting and networking and they have maintained ICAA momentum and presence on the ground. The Sections will provide the sound underpinning, areas of expertise and networking on which ICAA will move forward.

Structured around those topics determined to be of the greatest importance to the alcohol or drug fields globally, Sections have been defined historically by their areas of interest or focus and have been based around the expertise of their members. The list of sections and the extent of activity within individual sections has varied significantly. However, analysis of the work undertaken allows us to define in clear terms the factors contributing to a modus operandi which is clear, concise and productive for members and their organisations.

Underpinning the global role of ICAA the core purposes of ICAA Sections are:

  1. To promote the transfer and exchange of specialised knowledge and information across disciplines and cultures, delivering a global perspective on key issues in addiction
  2. To promote and enable a consistent focus on individual specialist topic areas
  3. To promote research cooperation coordination and /or development relevant to the special interest area.
  4. To provide short and rapid lines of communication thereby enhancing the quality and frequency of networking and cooperation across international boundaries and disciplines in the furtherance of knowledge and understanding of addictive behaviours globally

In pursuing these aims each section should ensure that it is firstly clear about its objectives and scope as defined below:

Alcohol Education: To analyse, as a group, the evolution of peoples’ relations to alcohol and evaluate best practices in the field of alcohol education and prevention. To welcome alcohol educators from every kind of organisation, in a very inclusive manner, and offer an open non-judgemental forum for discussion and sharing of opinions. To meet in person once a year in order to exchange programs and experiences in the field, determine and plan the priorities and topics of interests for the future. To share research, data, experiences and develop joint projects and programmes.

Alcohol Policy: To bring together scientists, policy makers, policy implementers, opinion makers and others who are active in, or interested in alcohol policy, to discuss alcohol related public policies and relevant data at national and international levels.

Alcohol Epidemiology: To provide an open international forum for presenting and discussing current work in alcohol epidemiology, construed in its broadest sense to include a variety of methodological approaches.

Women and alcohol: To increase knowledge and understanding of the alcohol problems of women.

Treatment: To identify and share good practices in treatment interventions globally. To assess and improve understanding of the transferability of treatment practices. To liaise with other sections n respect of the place and challenges of treatment in specific institutional, geographic, cultural and religious environments.

Ethnic Dimensions: To examine the ways in which ethnicity impacts on individual and community experience of and response to addictive behaviours. To compare the effectiveness of prevention and treatment initiatives in and between different communities. To explore the presentation and experience of addictions in migrant and displaced communities and the effectiveness of responses to addiction.

Workplace: To provide an international forum where the relationship between addictive behaviours and the workplace can be explored. The Forum will enable the sharing of information about problems and responses with a view to identifying the prevalence and profile of problems together with best and new practices.

Nicotine: To provide an international forum for scientists, policy makers, policy implementers and others with an interest in the effects of nicotine and different nicotine products on individual and public health. To exchange and discuss scientific data that are relevant for national and international strategies to prevent and treat tobacco dependence and tobacco-induced diseases. To identify and analyze different evidence- based intervention policies.

It should be the job of section chairpersons to promote section participation. This should be by networking both in person and on-line with colleagues worldwide. Section members should be encouraged to become members of ICAA. However, in the first instance, membership of ICAA should not be a prerequisite for participation.

Effectiveness and success
The effectiveness of sections will be judged by their members. However, chairpersons may wish to determine criteria on which to base such an assessment. This may be on the number of members, the frequency of meetings, the flow of communication (Q & F), the output of documentation e.g. presenting papers to the Management Committee for approval, recruitment of additional members, the delivery of training or conference participation inter alia.

The features of a successful section are clear:

Each section should provide an annual summary of activity for publication in the ICAA Newsletter. Additionally, section chairs will be asked to provide brief updating reports for the Board at their three meetings annually.

Sections may, from time to time, be invited to undertake specific task. These may include hosting papers, acquiring and sharing information, developing policy initiatives or addressing and reporting on specific topics. Such reports may be for the Management Committee or may be at the request of other agencies. In all cases, reports require the approval of the Management Committee or Chairperson’s approval on behalf of the Management Committee before publication.

Sections will be invited to consider and advise on topics for ICAA conferences and symposia. This role is crucial and underlines the importance of the sections in ensuring the currency of ICAA opinions, training policy and publications.

The benefits of participation in ICAA sections can be significant. They include:


Statement of Purpose

Sections are a way to facilitate closer cooperation between persons affiliated to the ICAA who are interested in a particular topic and/or belong to a special professional group in the alcohol and drug fields.

1. Objectives

  1. The Sections should be organized around those topics determined to be important to the field of alcohol and drugs as viewed internationally.
  2. The Sections should promote the transfer and exchange of specialized knowledge and information, and the spirit of international cooperation, co-ordination and development relevant to the special interest area among and through its participants across disciplines and cultures.
  3. The Sections' objectives must be in harmony with the general objectives of ICAA as outlined in Art.2. a, b and c of the Constitution.

2. Creation of Sections

The creation of a Section is decided by the Management Committee. The decision will be based on a written proposal. The Management Committee may also take the initiative to create a Section. Before the decision is taken, Section Chairs should be consulted to ensure that the proposed Section is not in conflict with the purpose and activities of existing Sections.

3. Organisation of Sections

  1. Each Section should have a Chairperson and whenever possible a core-group of at least 3 persons representing different geographic areas and/or countries.
  2. The Chairpersons of the Sections are elected by the Section and serve for a renewable term between the ICAA General Assemblies.
  3. Section Chairpersons should also act as programme advisers to ICAA's Institutes and Congresses.

4. Activities

  1. Sections shall organise regular meetings at the ICAA Institutes and Congresses for the presentation of research and professional papers which fall within the remit of the Section. Two or more Sections may hold joint sessions.
  2. Themes for plenary sessions of the ICAA Institutes should be drawn from the topic areas of the Sections. Plenary Sessions should be organized with the involvement of representatives of Sections in consultation with the local and/or international organising committees.
  3. Sections may organise symposia or other meetings outside the congresses and institutes. Such activities must be carried out with the agreement of the Secretariat and, whenever possible participation from Headquarters or by a Management Committee should be arranged. It must be clear in all notices and programmes that the event is held under the auspices of ICAA.
  4. Section meetings and activities may be held in person or via internet or telephone link
  5. If a Section does not have any activity within a period of two years the issue of the future of the Section will be brought before the Management Committee for consideration.

5. Policy

Recommendations and proposals of a policy nature made by the Sections should be put before the Management Committee and approved before they can be presented as endorsed by ICAA.

6. Annual Report

Each Section shall submit an annual report of its activities to the Management Committee by 31st December of each year. For this purpose the Secretariat will provide Section Chairpersons with a standardised annual report form at least three months before the last date for submission of the report.

7. Finances

Sections should be self-financing.

8. Publications

Sections should be given the possibility to publish material from their work when they feel it would be of importance and publication is economically viable. Publication should be agreed with the Secretariat of ICAA and be edited under the auspices of ICAA.

9. Annual Meeting

A meeting of all Section Chairpersons shall be held at least once a year, preferably during an ICAA Institute or Congress. At the Chairpersons meeting a discussion will be held on future activities of the Sections.

10. Revision of Guidelines

Proposals for a change to these Guidelines may be put to the Management Committee by the annual meeting of Section Chairpersons. A Section may propose changes to the Guidelines, in which case the meeting of Chairpersons must be consulted before submission to the Management Committee.