Health promotion

The 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion, Helsinki, Finland, 10-14 June 2013

The Helsinki statement on Health in All Policies

Policies designed to enable people to lead healthy lives face opposition from many sides. Often they are challenged by the interests of powerful economic forces that resist regulation. Business interests and market power can affect the ability of governments and health systems to promote and protect health and respond to health needs. Health in All Policies is a practical response to these challenges. It can provide a framework for regulation and practical tools that combine health, social and equity goals with economic development, and manage conflicts of interest transparently. These can support relationships with all sectors, including the private sector, to contribute positively to public health outcomes.

We see Health in All Policies as a constituent part of countries’ contribution to achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and it must remain a key consideration in the drafting of the post-2015 Development Agenda.

We, the participants of this conference

  • Prioritize health and equity as a core responsibility of governments to its peoples.
  • Affirm the compelling and urgent need for effective policy coherence for health and well-being.
  • Recognize that this will require political will, courage and strategic foresight.

We call on governments

to fulfil their obligations to their peoples’ health and well-being by taking the following actions:

  • Commit to health and health equity as a political priority by adopting the principles of Health in All Policies and taking action on the social determinants of health.
  • Ensure effective structures, processes and resources that enable implementation of the Health in All Policies approach across governments at all levels and between governments.
  • Strengthen the capacity of Ministries of Health to engage other sectors of government through leadership, partnership, advocacy and mediation to achieve improved health outcomes.
  • Build institutional capacity and skills that enable the implementation of Health in All Policies and provide evidence on the determinants of health and inequity and on effective responses.
  • Adopt transparent audit and accountability mechanisms for health and equity impacts that build trust across government and between governments and their people.
  • Establish conflict of interest measures that include effective safeguards to protect policies from distortion by commercial and vested interests and influence.
  • Include communities, social movements and civil society in the development, implementation and monitoring of Health in All Policies, building health literacy in the population.

We call on WHO to

  • Support Member States to put Health in All Policies into practice.
  • Strengthen its own capacity in Health in All Policies.
  • Use the Health in All Policies approach in working with United Nations agencies and other partners on the unfinished Millennium Development Goals agenda and the post-2015 Development Agenda.
  • Urge the United Nations family, other international organizations, multilateral development banks and development agencies to achieve coherence and synergy in their work with Member States to enable implementation of Health in All Policies.

We, the participants of this conference

  • Commit ourselves to communicate the key messages of this Helsinki Statement to our governments, institutions and communities.