Item 7.3: Adolescent health

Nordic/Baltic Statement.

I take the floor on behalf of the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, and the Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

  • We would like to thank the Secretariat for this report. We agree that a framework for action on adolescent health should be broad. It should be based on the causes of ill health and the social determinants of health, and it should promote well-being.
  • Furthermore it must have a clear gender perspective. Adolescent girls and boys partly have different health problems and needs, such as those related to sexual and reproductive health and rights.  To ensure such an approach, gender disaggregated data is absolutely crucial.
  • Adolescent health has long been prioritized in our countries. We have learned that stable upbringing, social support and safe environments, enrollment in education, including comprehensive sexuality education, healthy lifestyles and access to low threshold health services are important determinants. We would like to see these perspectives more strongly reflected in the framework than outlined in the report.
  • Our adolescents are exposed to new challenges. They are for example less physically active than previously, they have difficulties entering the labor market and mental ill-health, including incidence of depression, is increasing. We must make sure that our policies and measures are based on updated evidence.
  • The UN Convention of the rights of the Child (CRC) should be the basis for the work on adolescent health. The CRC principles of participation, protection and provision for children and youth, along with the best interest of the child should guide our work. This is especially important with regard to the section in the report on safe sexual debut, when ready and wanted.
  • Adolescents are in a particularly vulnerable situation when it comes to HIV/AIDS. It is a concern that estimates indicate that the number of deaths among adolescents from HIV/AIDS is increasing, especially since HIV related deaths are decreasing for all other age groups. It is important that the framework helps alleviate this situation.
  • We would also emphasize the importance of increased efforts towards bringing an end to female genital mutilation, given the extent of this harmful practice.
  • We agree with the process and the proposed elements for development of the framework. We would like to ensure WHO that you have our full support, and that we look forward to seeing the first drafts for consultation.

Thank you.