EPHA’s contributes to WHO Europe’s Report on the Commercial Determinants of Non-Communicable Diseases

Our voice matters! Actions that citizens and civil society can take to tackle the commercial determinants of NCDs

On June 12th, the WHO Regional Office for Europe released a pivotal report on the Commercial Determinants of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). This comprehensive report spans 156 pages and includes 35 case studies, illustrating the profound impact of commercial determinants of health (CDoH) within the WHO European Region. These determinants contribute to nearly 7,500 deaths daily from factors such as tobacco, alcohol, processed food, fossil fuels, and unsafe occupational practices, accounting for 25% of all deaths in the region.

The report rigorously examines how commercial interests exacerbate NCDs and the collective strategies these entities use to adversely influence health policies. It advocates for strong financial reforms and stringent regulations to curtail industry power and boost public health, aiming to expedite progress toward global NCD targets and the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), led by Policy Manager for NCD prevention Alessandro Gallina, with support from Alba Gil, Policy Manager for Sustainable Food Systems, directed the final chapter of this report. This chapter focuses on empowering citizens and civil society organizations (CSOs) to tackle CDoH. CSOs are crucial in advocating for public health both nationally and internationally. The chapter emphasizes the need to shift from individual responsibility to broader policy and systemic interventions to address NCD root causes effectively.

Key highlights include:

  • CSOs’ vital role in influencing policy, representing vulnerable groups, and promoting accountability.
  • The power of international cooperation among CSOs, demonstrated by successful campaigns like tobacco control, which have led to significant public health advancements.
  • The continuous challenge of powerful commercial interests, which can overshadow public health concerns, underscoring the necessity for CSOs to have stable, independent funding and a strong voice in policymaking.
  • Supporting and uniting CSOs is crucial for a comprehensive approach to NCD prevention, ensuring that health policies are not only created but also implemented effectively and equitably across Europe.
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