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Winds of change:
towards new ways of improving public health in Europe

Ljubljana, Slovenia
28 November - 1 December 2018




Application of a human rights based approach to health policy, planning and practice: will it improve access and quality of care? Obstacles, opportunities and success stories from the global world


Organised by

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) in collaboration with European Commission, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO)


Over the last decades, there have been increasing calls for respecting and integrating human rights into health. Leaders from national governments, and UN agencies have repeatedly underlined the need to operationalise human rights, and incorporate them into the implementation of policies, programmes, projects and other health-related interventions, such as environment and water and sanitation, with a view of strengthening equity and effectiveness. The level of respect for human rights, and formulation of health laws, policies and programmes directly or indirectly impact human’s health and as such a country’s development. Mainstreaming human rights within the UN system has been a cornerstone of UN reform since 1997. Although the health and human rights are complementary and the health and human rights communities work more closely together today than in the past, the translation of human rights from policies to practice in health services have faced, and continue to face a number of challenges, including miscommunication, and polarisation between the fields. Coordinated efforts are needed to further strengthen the positive evidence on the use of a human rights based approach to advance health.

This pre-conference will have a global focus and explore what the application of a human rights based approach to health in practice, for global health and public health researchers, practitioners and policymakers. Three sessions will focus on human rights and health and human rights and water and sanitation in theory and practice. The first two sessions will feature research and practitioners’ cases. The thirds session will focus on interactive group discussion in bee-hives on specific health themes, where human rights have contributed to advance the health agenda. The seminar will conclude with looking ahead. As a human-rights based approach is requested to be applied, these sessions aim to:


09:00 Welcoming and Introduction

09:15 Session 1: Health and human rights nexus: opportunities and challenges from past to present

Discussion, questions comments and reflections

10:30-11:00 Coffee break

11:00 Session 2: Applying a human-rights based approach to health: politics, policy and practice

Group discussions, comments and reflections

12:30-13:30 Lunch

13:30 Session 3: Human rights based approach to health in practice: Examples from the field how human rights have contributed to the practice in delivery of health services
Purpose of the session: To discuss and share how the human rights based approach to health, or only human rights to health that have been used to advance the health agenda. The different bee-hives to choose from are:

15:00-15:30 Coffee break

15:30-16:30 Presentations discussions from bee-hives

16:30- 17:00 Concluding reflections: how to move forward

17:00 End


The registration fee is € 20 which includes networking lunch and refreshments.