Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health

The World Health Organisation (WHO) World Conference on Social Determinants of Health issued the Rio Declaration on 21 October 2011. Click here for a press release from Baby Milk Action.

The draft official Rio Declaration included text calling for collaboration with stakeholders, including the private sector. The Conflicts of Interests Coalition statement of concern was distributed to delegates and the final text makes reference to conflicts of interest in three places:

"Foster collaboration with the private sector, safeguarding against conflict of interests, to contribute to achieving health through policies and actions on social determinants of health;"

"Promote inclusive and transparent governance approaches, which engage early with affected sectors at all levels of governments, as well as support social participation and involve civil society and the private sector, safeguarding against conflict of interests;"

"Promote appropriate monitoring systems that take into consideration the role of all relevant stakeholders including civil society, nongovernmental organizations as well as the private sector, with appropriate safeguard against conflict of interests, in the monitoring and evaluation process;"

Lida Lhotska, the European Coordinator of the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), commented:

"The call to safeguard against conflict of interests is much welcome. However, it should not apply only to Member States but also to WHO as an agency which will be supporting Member States in their efforts to implement the Declaration. WHO in fact does have a unique opportunity to develop a comprehensive institutional policy that would guarantee adequate safeguard against both individual and organisational conflicts of interests as part of the announced WHO's reform."

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