EPHA welcomes the Commission initiative to present a review of the “GDP and beyond: Measuring progress in a changing world” roadmap and its five key actions. Ministers could support the Commission by sending a strong political message that better ways to measure progress are needed. In the letter EPHA highlights the need to develop indicators for social progress and environmental sustainability, in particular clear and measurable indicators that take account of food poverty, resource efficiency, gender participation, social inclusion, health inequalities and civic engagement and for these indicators to be used in the implementation and evaluation of the Europe 2020 strategy. EPHA points out theEuropean Parliament resolution on reducing health inequalities in the EU that called on the Council to “ to include comparative indicators stratified by socio-economic status and the state of public health in the procedures for monitoring the Europe 2020 strategy.”

EPHA draws attention to the fact that Rio + 2O Outcome document "The Future We Want" notes “Sustainable development can only be achieved in the absence of a high prevalence of debilitating communicable and non-communicable diseases, and where populations can reach a state of physical, mental and social well-being. EPHA recalls that the majority of chronic diseases can be prevented by addressing common risk factors: tobacco use, alcohol consumption, nutrition, and insufficient levels of physical activity. EPHA reiterates the call from the Parliament on the UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs in September 2011 to endorse key commitments as non-communicable diseases:

  • the reduction of preventable NCD mortality by 25% by 2025, as proposed by the WHO,
  • the implementation of cost-effective and cost-saving interventions, including the speedier implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, better access to and the promotion of healthy diets, including action to reduce salt, sugar, saturated fat and transfat intakes, effective measures to combat the harmful use of alcohol, and access to and the promotion of physical activities, as well as a population-wide reduction in exposure to environmental pollution, including endocrine disruptors and other environmental contaminants,
  • the monitoring of trends in NCD mortality and the common risk factors for NCDs,

Following the Council conclusions of 9 March 2012 Rio+20: Pathways to a Sustainable Future that highlighted that greening the economy is essential to promote “sustainable consumption and production, human health and well being and hence eradicate poverty, providing benefits for all citizens.” EPHA recommends that any alternative growth model promote health and wellbeing, while bridging inequalities, as inequalities were the one of the causes of the economic crisis. The Council Conclusions on the outcome and follow-up to the UNCSD 2012 is an opportunity to help build a healthy, more sustainable future for people living in Europe.

The letter is available here
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Last modified on October 24 2012.