Public health, environmental and social determinants of health (PHE)

Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health (PHE) during the 70th World Health Assembly

World Health Assembly plenary with delegates

The 70th World Health Assembly will be held from 22-31th May 2017 in Geneva. Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of health topics to be discussed and events to be held at this year`s World Health Assembly include:

Technical Briefing

  • Friday, 26 May 2017
    12:30 - 14:15
    Room XII

    Health and environment: Inheriting a sustainable world

    Around 12.6 million deaths a year are due to preventable environmental health risks (WHO, 2016), which represents 23% of the global burden of disease. These environmental risks are critical and pressing concern for the public health community. Global action is key to combating this epidemic of environmentally-related diseases.

    The technical briefing will showcase success stories and solutions from countries and municipalities that have successfully managed to tackle environmental-health risks, resulting from polluted air and water as well as sanitation and chemical hazards. These stories also illustrate how action in different sectors can increase resilience and mitigate climate change. Addressing environmental risks emerging from other sectors is a strategic way to generate investments in health as well as focusing on the primary prevention of disease.

    The briefing will also feature major WHO initiatives to bring Member States and international organizations together to advocate and take action to implement evidence-based technical interventions, building of political will, and sharing of experiences. This will include the recent coalition of WHO, UNEP, and WMO on climate change, health, and environment, and initiatives to prevent diseases caused by air pollution such as WHO’s Urban Health Initiative being implemented with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition.

Side events

  • Wednesday, 24 May 2017
    18:00 - 20:00
    Maison de la paix, the Graduate Institute, Geneva

    Health in All Policies: Launch of the Global Network

    Health in All Policies (HiAP) is an approach to public policies across sectors that systematically takes into account the health implications of decisions, seeks synergies, and avoids harmful health impacts in order to improve population health and health equity. It improves accountability of policymakers for health impacts at all levels of policy-making. It includes an emphasis on the consequences of public policies on health systems, determinants of health and well-being.

    The Global Network for Health in All Policies (GNHiAP) is an initiative launched by five governmental collaborators that will work jointly to strengthen and institutionalize HiAP and facilitate its implementation. The network will help countries to achieve all health related SDG targets and move towards Universal Health Coverage.

    Host: Sudan, Finland and Thailand

  • Friday, 26 May 2017
    7:30 - 9:00
    Permanent Mission of Canada, 5 Avenue de l`Ariana 1202 Geneva (attendance only by invitation, RSVP by 22 May 2017)

    From Vision to Action: Achieving SDG’s with Health in All Policies at the Core

    All United Nations’ State Members joined forces in 2015 to develop the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Health occupies a preponderant place in this new program Health also transcends most of the other SDGs and of their targets, many being directly linked to social and environmental determinants of health. The Health in All Policies (HiAP) approach represents a promising strategy for mobilizing all sectors toward integrated and intersectoral action for health and well-being in the SDGs.

    This technical side event of the 70th World Health Assembly aims to identify innovative strategies for achieving health related SDG targets, based on successful HiAP approaches realised at different levels of government and in different contexts.

    Host: Government of Quebec and Government of Canada

  • Friday, 26 and 27 May 2017
    All day
    Next to Serpentine Bar

    BreatheLife Campaign Interactive Space

    What colour is your city? Healthy blue or smoggy grey? Air pollution is the cause of one-quarter to one-third of the major non-communicable disease killers – stroke, heart attack, respiratory disease and lungs, and a leading killer worldwide. This year’s World Health Assembly is featuring an interactive “BreatheLife” exhibit on urban air quality and health, which has been traveling around the world over the past two years.
    The exhibit features a 3D street graphic from the famous street artist Kurt Wenner, illustrating scenes from clean and polluted cities, “solutions” mobiles and windmills and a virtual “bike tour” of cities around the world, which you can experience while pedaling a stationary bike. The traveling exhibit is part of the BreatheLife campaign, an initiative of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition led by WHO and UN Environment. The campaign is encouraging cities and countries to commit to achieving WHO Air Quality guidelines and reducing climate pollutants. Some two dozen cities have already joined the BreatheLife campaign including major cities in Mexico (Guadalajara in Jalisco State), Chile (Santiago) and most recently, Manchester, United Kingdom.

Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health.