PHM background papers contributed to 'The Lancet - University of Oslo Commission on Global Governance for Health'

12 Feb 2014

The Lancet—University of Oslo Commission on Global Governance for Health' has been released.

This report examines power disparities and dynamics across a range of policy areas that aff ect health and that require improved global governance: economic crises and austerity measures, knowledge and intellectual property, foreign investment treaties, food security,transnational corporate activity, irregular migration, and violent conflict.

The full report is available HERE

"This is the starting point of The Lancet –University of Oslo Commission on Global Governance for Health. With globalisation, health inequity increasingly results from transnational activities that involve actors with different interests and degrees of power: states,transnational corporations, civil society, and others. The decisions, policies, and actions of such actors are, in turn, founded on global social norms. Their actions are not designed to harm health, but can have negative side- effects that create health inequities. The norms, policies,and practices that arise from global political interaction across all sectors that aff ect health are what we call global political determinants of health. The Commission argues that global political determinants that unfavourably affect the health of some groups of people relative to others are unfair, and that at least some harms could be avoided by improving how global governance works. There is an urgent need to understand how public health can be better protected and promoted in the realm of global governance, but this issue is a complex and politically sensitive one. Global governance processes involve the distribution of economic, intellectual, normative, and political resources, and to assess their effect on health requires an analysis of power."

PHM's contribution has been acknowledged as follows: "We off er a special thanks to the People’s Health Movement, which contributed with six background papers via an editorial group consisting of Bridget Lloyd, David Sanders, Amit Sengupta, and Hani Serag. The authors of these background papers were Susana Barria, Alexis Benos, Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Chiara Bodini, Eugene Cairncross, Sharon Friel, Sophia Kisting, Elias Kondilis, David Legge, Mariette Lieff erink, Baijayanta Mukhopadhyay, Lexi Bambas Nolen, Jagjit Plahe, Farah M Shroff , Angelo Stefanini, Anne-Marie Thow, Pol De Vos, David van Wyk, and Aed Yaghi".

Specific references in the report to our contributions are as follows:

Fiscal Policies in Europe... CLICK HERE for the complete case study

"Faced with a national financial crisis that created uncertainty about the country’s ability to repay its debts, Greece accepted the bailout packages from the IMF, European Central Bank, and European Commission, including austerity measures that have had disastrous effects on the health and wellbeing of Greek citizens. Major cutbacks in government spending in the social sectors (health, welfare, and education) caused hundreds of thousands of public sector workers to lose their jobs or see their salaries frozen or reduced. Since young people were hit especially hard, they have been named the crisis generation: in 2012, unemployment for people aged 15–24 years was 55·2% in Greece compared with an OECD average of 16·2%. The country reports increased numbers of homeless people, rising crime rates, growing food insecurity, and more family break-ups."Contemporary events in many European countries mirror what has been happening in much of the developing world since the early 1980s: international financial institutions conditioned loans on structural adjustment programmes that included not only budget cuts to reduce fi scal defi cits, but also a broader range of measures to balance fiscal and trade deficits, deregulate the economy, and privatise state enterprises. These programmes involved implementation of the primary tenets of neoliberalism, including promotion of free markets, privatisation of public assets and programmes (including health care), so-called small government, and economic deregulation". "Civil society organisations and movements in Europe and elsewhere have also started to speak out against the adverse effects of austerity policies on health equity".

Food Sovereignty... CLICK HERE for the complete case study

"..nutritional status is not determined solely by the availability of food, but also by political factors such as democracy and political empowerment. The politics that generate and distribute political power and resources at local, national, and global levels shape how people live, what they eat, and, ultimately, their health. The global double burden of overnutrition and undernutrition is thus one of serious inequity".

Extractive Industries...CLICK HERE for the complete case study

"The relation between under-regulated activities of transnational corporations on the one hand, and health on the other, is not confined to the handling of toxins. Extractive industries operating in oil, gas, and mining have long been recognised as some of the most damaging to environment, health, and livelihoods. For example, mining causes high occupational mortality". "International laws and norms have an important, though incomplete, role in regulating the conduct of transnational corporations. Although communities in host countries are often poorly protected against the operations of transnational corporations, foreign direct investment is protected by negotiated treaties between states and firms, ensuring protection of the investor"

Trade and Health... CLICK HERE for the complete case study

"For example, trade and investment agreements are still negotiated between governments behind closed doors. Similarly, adjudication of investment disputes between states and corporations is shrouded in secrecy, even when major questions of public interest (such as tobacco control legislation or drugs patents) are at stake".

The complete case studies are also available here:


Best Wishes and thanks again to all those who contributed the PHM case studies!