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Item 14.5: Contributing to social and economic development

Nordic-Baltic statement

I am speaking on behalf of Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia and Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and Finland.

 

Chair, distinguished delegates

Recalling the 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion in Finland 2013, we take note of report 68/17, which we received only four days ago. The Draft framework for country action across sectors for health and health equity, called for by World Health Assembly resolution 67.12, is annexed in this document, that is 68/17.

In her opening statement at the Helsinki Conference, the WHO Director General said – I quote: “The determinants of health are exceptionally broad. Policies made in other sectors can have a profound, and often adverse, effect on health. Public health has been on the receiving end of these policies for a very long time. With this meeting, it is time for us to move to the top of the table, and have our say.”

We are now at important crossroads regarding many determinants of health discussed in this meeting and elsewhere: climate change, air pollution, antimicrobial resistance, global health security, and a new UN sustainable development agenda, to name a few. A similar list can be put up from country level. Reaching sustainability means that diverse determinants interacting with these serious challenges are being addressed. Health in All Policies is serious business.

The annexed Framework meets the formal requirements of the WHA resolution, but it does not, unfortunately, mirror the enthusiasm the DG expressed at the Helsinki conference. Among other things. It does not recognize that sometimes other sectors are in a position to enhance health on their own, without intersectoral contacts. Moreover, it does not reflect the fact that while achieving synergies can be a challenge, we also need to be prepared to address policies, where little or no synergies may be found.

Health promotion has for soon thirty years called for healthy public policies. With new concrete tools at hand, it is now time for intensified action. The Framework, together with the WHO Health in All Policies training manual are good prerequisites for country level capacity building. It is now also time to concentrate on the planning and preparations for the next, 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion taking place in Shanghai, China, in November 2016. Therefore we propose that the Framework be approved by this meeting.

Health in All Policies approach extends beyond inter- and multisectoral action, collaboration and co-benefits. We need to realize its potential in enhancing accountability for health at different levels and forums of decision-making.

There is still much to do to strengthen the work, including better intersectorial links within the WHO secretariat, and we look forward to collaborating with all relevant WHO offices, departments and programmes.

Mr. Chair, in conclusion, we propose the approval of the Framework and request WHO to disseminate it and support its implementation in countries.