The report covers priority action areas and identifies key implementation issues of particular relevance to creating healthy and sustainable places and communities.

As local government usually has the primary responsibility for planning and/or delivering many of the services that are crucial to addressing the social determinants of health (such as education, transport, housing and urban planning) its role is a very important one to be taken into account.

The structures underpinning local government, especially decentralization, have the inherent potential to stimulate change by reducing central influence and promoting local autonomy for concerns of a daily life as transport, air pollution, road safety, neighbourhoods and facilities, housing and urban planning, green spaces, crime, urban environment, and climate. This especially applies to population groups disadvantaged by relative poverty, unemployment, low status, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disability.


Local government has a specific role in:

- identifying population needs, including collecting information from communities to inform the design of neighbourhoods and the local development of services and facilities;

- promoting and supporting communities in participating in co-producing, directing and controlling local services and/or interventions;

- developing social capital by enhancing community empowerment;

- assessing the effects of urban planning on health and inequalities in health;

- giving priority to access to green spaces and community safety in spatial planning;

- ensuring that fuel efficiency is a key priority in both new housing developments and refurbishments of older housing stock;

- using local regulatory mechanisms to limit the number of retail fast food outlets, especially in deprived areas;

- giving priority to evidence-informed preventive strategies;

- acting as an exemplary employer and using commissioning and contracting powers to improve working conditions within the local area.

EPHA related articles

- EPHA position on the European Commission’s 7th Environment Action Programme

- Unicef’s report on The State of the World’s Children 2012: Children in an Urban World

- The Impact of the Economic Downturn and Policy Changes on Health Inequalities - the example of London

- European Charter for Health Equity - open for signatures through 2012

- Environmental health inequalities in Europe. WHO Europe Assessment report

- EPHA position on the Social Determinants of Health and the Health Divide in the WHO European Region

Last modified on August 30 2012.