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Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health

The Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health was adopted in October, 2011 at the World Health Conference on Social Determinants of Health. Held over three days in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the conference brought together more than 1000 participants from 125 member states to spur global action on the social determinants of health.

The Rio Declaration builds on a series of seminal documents by the World Health Organization, including the 1978 Declaration of Alma-Ata, the 1986 Ottawa Charter, and the 2008 final report from the Commission on the Social Determinants of Health (Closing the gap in a generation). It was intended to help build the political momentum for national action plans and strategies devoted to reducing health inequities.

It touches on many familiar, but salient themes, including the need for

  • action across sectors and levels of government, including the adoption of a Health in all Policies approach
  • reorientation of the health sector (including public health) to reducing health inequities
  • research and other types of evidence to inform policy and action
  • action to improve health across the entire population, while paying special attention to vulnerable groups
  • cooperation between private and public sectors (e.g., in ensuring workplace safety)
  • inclusivity and participation in policy-making and implementation processes
  • a life-course approach with a special focus on promoting health and wellbeing in early childhood
  • monitoring and evaluation strategies
  • This call-to-action led to a resolution (“Reducing health inequities through action on the social determinants of health,”) signed by the World Health Assembly in 2012.

Use this resource to

  • learn the components of a comprehensive approach to improving health across populations, including those that are most vulnerable
  • advocate for comprehensive policies on regional, provincial and national levels to address the social determinants of health
  • better understand the history of global action on the social determinants of health

World Health Organization (2011). Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health.  Rio de Janeiro, Br: World Health Organization.

Tags: Access to health services, Community engagement, Critical works in health equity, Early childhood development, Healthy public policy, Income inequality, Intersectoral action, Key concepts, Leadership & capacity building, Socioeconomic status , Document

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