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17 July 2019
Asthma , COPD, Allergy, Other Diseases
- Healthcare

EFA provided input in the call for comments organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), regarding strengthening collaboration among multilateral health organisations to accelerate country progress on the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The call has been organised by WHO SDG 3 Secretariat to align efforts and more effectively support countries in achieving the health-related targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This vision will be reflected in a Global Action Plan, to be adopted in September 2019.

EFA welcomed the initiative and responded in the draft Global Action Plan as well as in one of the related Accelerator Papers on Health Determinants. In our view, the future Global Action Plan should:

  • Be seen as an opportunity to link SDG3 with other international thematic initiatives on addressing human health, such as the 2015 Paris Agreement, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the WHO work on Ambient and Indoor air pollution, and the joint FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission.
  • Promote awareness on the challenges faced by vulnerable groups of the society, including the poor, the chronic patients, the women/children/elders, the stigmatised, and the discriminated.
  • Encourage multi-level engagement with actors from the international, regional, national and local level in addressing health challenges and contributing to the SDG3.
  • Bring all relevant UN agencies and programs on board. For example, the UN Environmental Programme should be part of the discussions on challenges as persistent as air pollution.
  • There is a need to generate more knowledge on the impact air pollution has on human health through targeted actions such as the acceleration of the ongoing WHO Air Quality Guidelines revision and the reinforcement of the European Environment and Health process.
  • Unhealthy food production technologies should be explicitly addressed, along with the increasing prevalence of food allergies in Europe.
  • WHO and other relevant agencies should strengthen the human rights approach on health-harming products such as tobacco, facilitate access to justice for people victims of the industry whitewashing of tobacco and its derivatives. This could be realised in partnership with UNICEF, OHCHR and in line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and the Convention of the Rights of the Child.
  • A discussion should start for the definition of a long-term strategy on chronic diseases, especially those that are non-communicable. Such a strategy should be underpinned by ambitious national percentage targets for the reduction of deaths from chronic diseases.
  • Concerted action towards disease management based on a multi-disciplinary care approach can offer better health outcomes and the collateral benefit of better social inclusion for the people living with the disease.
  • Promote the reporting on human rights related to health within the Universal Periodic Review process.

The full EFA response to the WHO call for comment on a global action plan for healthy lives and well-being can be found here.