EuroHealthNet on the first implementation report of the WHO Health2020 strategy: “We welcome the strategy, but is Europe really prepared for its implementation?”

On 15-18 September 2014, EuroHealthNet will attend the 64th session of the Regional Committee for Europe in Copenhagen, Denmark, where Ministers, high-level representatives, partners and civil-society organizations will discuss the implementation of Health2020 and other action plans. In a statement released today, EuroHealthNet highlights its full support and involvement to the implementation of Health2020 but stresses that more must be done at national level and to better align with EU strategies and activities.

The first implementation report shows how countries have integrated ambitious Health2020 principles into their national health policies and strategies. It remains unclear however to what extent national Health2020-based strategies are backed up by financial and human resources and what impact has been achieved until now.

Bold measures are needed to structurally address a wide range of key determinants of health and social equity. EuroHealthNet calls on Member States of the WHO region to provide leadership in shifting resources and capacities from dealing with the symptoms of unsustainable societies to integrated approaches that promote health and wellbeing. This “big shift” to prioritizing health in governance processes and trade-offs has, in this stage of the Health2020 implementation, not yet been made.

EuroHealthNet recommends the WHO to measure inputs, performance and outcomes of these strategies, to provide learning opportunities and to better align with EU activities in order to achieve maximal efficiency gains.

Health in All Policies (HiAP): A crucial component of the Health2020 policy framework

Public health professionals and policy makers face complex realities that are often resistant to change. Other sector decision makers are not easily convinced that health is relevant to their policy goals and examples of effective inter-sectoral cooperation for health are scarce. The WHO and Member States should invest in and step up the proposed training and capacity building activities in a systematic way, using ‘train-the-trainers’ concepts and further develop practical collaborating centers of expertise.

EuroHealthNet also highlights the effects of the austerity measures on the social determinants of health. It is important to put specific emphasis on tackling health inequalities in all proposed actions. In addition, new strategies, such as social entrepreneurship, community based integrated services, new technologies, social innovation and working with businesses committed to improving health as well as with sustainable development actors, need further exploration and scaling up within the Health2020 context.

EuroHealthNet stresses it is committed to support the implementation of Health2020. “We contribute by acting as a bridge between EU and WHO activities and by facilitating exchange of learning through briefings, webinars, and study visits. We provide advice on policy opportunities, coordinate joint actions and generate evidence-based knowledge on health determinants. EuroHealthNet also supports the WHO European Action Plan on strengthening public health capacities” says EuroHealthNet’s Managing Director Caroline Costongs.

  • To access EuroHealthNet’s statement on the first report on the implementation of Health 2020 strategy, click here.
  • For more information of the 64th session of the Regional Committee for Europe, click here.
  • For more information on the Health 2020 strategy, click here.


About EuroHealthNet EuroHealthNet, the European Partnership for improving Health, Equity and Wellbeing, is a Partnership consisting of primarily responsible public health authorities and institutes working at regional, national and international levels across Europe. Our mission is to help improve population health and reduce health inequalities.

Please see or contact EuroHealthNet’s Communication Coordinator Ariane Moret.