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Item 6.6: Norway's Statement on Social determinants of health

Last updated: 26.01.2012 //

Mr Chairman, Director General, Delegates, Colleagues,

First I want to thank the Brazilian government and WHO Secretariat for the World Conference on Social Determinants held in Rio de Janeiro last October which resulted in the Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health. The Declaration is in line with core principles of the WHO constitution and constitutes a new stepping stone for progress in global action to reduce inequities in health.

The unacceptable inequalities in health arise from an unfair distribution of societal conditions and resources – social determinants of health - both within and between countries. The latest year we have seen much unrest around the globe, unrest that has been caused by inequities. This should be of our greatest concern. Fairness and equity is at the heart of our common challenges for a socially and economically stable and sustainable future.

It is vital that WHO takes a strong role in bringing the social determinants of health agenda further. Social determinants of health and health inequities must be considered in all WHO activities. We should for example monitor beyond average numbers and take up-stream social determinants into account in NCD monitoring.

The WHO needs capacity and resources to take the agenda forward, both in order to support implementation in Member States and globally across the UN family and global actors:

-          From the perspective of most Member states, there is still a need for a strong WHO that provide technical support on strategies to operationalize and implement the SDH agenda through intersectoral Health in All Policies.

-          Globally, there is a window of opportunity to create synergies between the Rio +20 and the social determinants of health. Health equity depends on sustainable development, and a society with large socially produced health inequalities is not a sustainable society. Equity is our common denominator. This is where these processes meet.

The Rio Political Declaration on social Determinants of Health recommends that the 65th World Health Assembly adopts a resolution endorsing the declaration. Norway strongly supports the resolution initiative from the Brazilian government.

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