Heidi Hautala, Minister for International Development, Finland


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Heidi Hautala, Minister for International Development, Finland

  1. 1. 8thGlobal Conference on Health Promotion, 10-14 June Helsinki FinlandSpeech of Ms. Heidi Hautala, Minister for International Development of FinlandCHECK AGAINST DELIVERYExcellencies, colleagues, ladies & gentlemen,You have been discussing the theme of this 8thGlobal Conference on HealthPromotion Health in all Policies from many different aspects during this week. So Iwill not go into the concept discussion anymore. Now its time to look forward.Words are valuable but as Dr. Chan said in her opening remarks what we need isaction.We are now faced with an opportunity – the world is in the process of formulatingthe Post-2015 agenda. Today is an opportunity to have a substantive discussion toincrease our common understanding on how to best promote health in the newagenda.I will speak from the donor perspective but I dont want you to think that we havefound the silver bullet here – we have not; but we do have some ideas based on ourown experiences that might be useful to share.The Post-2015 agenda should be built on the current MDGs and achieving them.But its also the time to take the lessons learned from the MDGs.The MDGs brought about a lot of positive things to international development: theyare specific and easy to understand, which is good. At the same time, a theme orproblem specific approach has led to a certain lack of coherence and non-adherance to the priorities of the recipient countries.It has also led to vertical disease-specific programmes and health systems thatfocus on treatment and care, at the cost of a more preventive and comprehensiveapproach to health.
  2. 2. The MDG framework, although enabling more international financing for health, hasnot sufficiently addressed the systemic aspects of health systems.The focus of the MDGs on developing countries is also a good thing. But at thesame time issues beyond developing countries and development assistance, suchas economic policies, globalization of trade, of services and of finances,demographic changes, climate change and food insecurity have at times been ablind spot. We have also seen the growth of inequity. Gaps in income level withinand between countries persist and widen and the MDGs dont sufficiently addressthis issue.The new Post-2015 agenda must address the root causes of poverty and haveuniversal applicability. Health and reducing health inequities should remain anintegral part of the agenda. Health should be recognized as a right in and of itself. Itshould also be clearly linked with other development sectors. Here we need tochange our thinking of development. For instance, the disease specific approachhas to be abandoned as it no longer addresses the needs.This is where the Health in all Policies approach comes in. It can be a very goodstarting point for the Post-2015 agenda as it highlights the interdependence ofpolicy sectors (nutrition, education, adequate income, environment and genderequality for example) and the need to assess the implications of policies on eachother.Health should therefore not only be highlighted on its own but also considered inother sectors and vice-versa. Health in all Policies is an approach thatsystematically takes into account the health implications of decisions, seekssynergies, and avoids harmful health impacts in order to improve population healthand health equity.
  3. 3. I will give you some examples. Having a gender or a rights based lens on, when forinstance an agricultural programme is designed can yield clear health benefits forwomen and girls affected by the programme. Research also shows that a child´schances of survival increase by 20 per cent when the mother controls thehousehold budget.Another example of the interlinkage of sectors is that it has been shownadolescents girls school attendance increased when attention was given to theirhygiene and sanitation needs, such as private latrines and provision of sanitarypads.Health in all Policies focuses on the role that governments play in achievingpopulation health and equity and provides a mechanism and practical tools toenable authorities and politicians to understand health impacts of their action andensure accountability for the health and equity consequences of their public policydecisions.Thank you.