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World Health Assembly adopts the Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health

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who-logoWorld Health Organization, 2012

A resolution endorsing the Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health (the ’Rio Political Declaration’) was adopted by WHO Member States at the Sixty-fifth World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Social determinants of health are the conditions, in which people are born, grow, live and work that affect their health.  These conditions are shaped by political, social and economic factors, such as income, literacy and education levels, housing and living conditions, employment and employment security, social exclusion, access to health care, and food safety, and diet.

The resolution

Among others, the resolution Commits Member States to:

  • Implement the pledges made in the Rio Political Declaration, including in the priority areas:
  • Adopt better governance for health and development to tackle the root causes of, and reduce health inequities.  
  • Promote participation in policy-making and implementation for action on SDH, engaging actors and influencers outside of government, including civil society.
  • Further reorient the health sector towards reducing health inequities, including moving towards universal health coverage that is accessible, affordable, and good quality for all.
  • Strengthen global governance and collaboration, including coordinated global action on social determinants of health aligned with national government policies and global priorities.
  • Monitor progress and increase accountability to inform policies on social determinants of health.
  • Develop and support strategies, programmes and action plans that address social determinants of health;
  • Support the further development of the Health-in-all-policies approach as a way of promoting health equity;
  • Build national capacities among policy makers, health workers, etc. to facilitate implementation of pledges;
  • Acknowledge social determinants of health  as part of deliberations on sustainable development (including at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development [Rio+20] in June 2012);

Calls Upon the international community to support implementation on pledges and:

  • Support the leading role of WHO in global health governance and promote alignment of policies, plans and activities of all stakeholders on social determinants of health;
  • Strengthen international cooperation in promoting health equity in all countries through exchange of expertise and scientific data, and enhancing access to financial resources.

Requests the Director-General of WHO to:

  • Consider social determinants of health in the assessment of global needs for health (including in the WHO reform process and WHO’s future work);
  • Provide support to Member States in implementing the Rio Political Declaration through health-in-all-policy approaches to address social determinants of health;
  • Work closely with other organizations in the United Nations’ system on advocacy, research, capacity-building and technical assistance to Member States for work on social determinants of health.

Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health

Useful links


Source: PAHO/WHO

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 May 2012 11:20 )  

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