World Conference on Social Determinants of Health

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

A resolution endorsing the Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health was adopted in May 2012 by WHO Member States at the Sixty-fifth World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland.

The resolution

Through the resolution (WHA65.8) Member States expressed their political will to improve public health, and reduce health inequities through action on the social determinants of health (SDH). The focus is on addressing the challenges of eradicating hunger and poverty; ensuring food security; enabling access to healthcare and affordable medicines; and improving daily living conditions through provision of safe drinking-water and sanitation, employment opportunities and social protection. The resolution commits Member States to implement the pledges made in the Rio Political Declaration, including in priority areas to:

- 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 SDH aligned with national government policies and global priorities.

- Monitor progress and increase accountability to inform policies on SDH.

The SDH were subsequently recognised in the outcome document agreed by member states at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June 2012 ("The Future We Want"). The document states: “We are convinced that action on the social and environmental determinants of health, both for the poor and the vulnerable and the entire population, is important to create inclusive, equitable, economically productive and healthy societies. We call for the full realization of the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health”.

Download the WHA65.8, outcome of the World Conference on Social Determinants of Health resolution in the six UN lunguages.


19-21 October, World Conference on Social Determinants of Health, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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