I speak on behalf of Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland
The report on the resolution WHA65.8, advancing the social determinants of health and health equity presents many initiatives and activities. It acknowledges that political commitment to, and action on, social determinants of health and health equity have steadily increased.
We particularly appreciate the WHO Global Conferences on health promotion, lastly the 8th one, in Helsinki in 2013. They have been major drivers for action on the determinants of health and health equity. We also consider health equity and social determinants as critical to the implementation of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.
The report shows emphasis on policies and strategies. This is important, but we need to acknowledge that policies are never better than implementation can prove. We would like to get more information on implementation, both within health systems and society at large.
Reduction of health inequalities will have a tremendous impact on population health, and we urge WHO and its Member States to step up efforts to advance the social determinants of health and health equity agenda – it is a political choice.
We also welcome the progress made implementing the Strategy for integrating gender analysis and actions into the work of the WHO.
To further strengthen WHO’s gender responsiveness, we emphasize the importance of gender analysis and sex disaggregated data in all areas of health work. We recognise progress made but encourage WHO to do even more, including addressing the challenges impeding the work identified in the report.
We particularly appreciated the mainstreaming of gender issues across the programme budget 2016-2017 and expect that concerns expressed during the debate on the budget- on the need for stronger indicators in category 6- will be acted upon. We must be able to measure progress in a meaningful way.
We warmly welcome the increased attention to gender mainstreaming, and integrating equity and human rights in the new edition of the WHO handbook for guideline development.
Finally, we urge WHO to take further steps to close the gender gap in staffing and to accelerate efforts to deliver on the UN system-wide action plan on gender equality and women’s empowerment and report back to the governing bodies on progress made.