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World Social Forum 2015: Against all threats to health and social protection, let's mobilise together!

1 Apr 2015

This is the final declaration on health and social protection that PHM activists, together with many other networks and organisations, wrote at the World Social Forum in Tunis. It's a call to act and mobilize. The Forum was an important moment of convergence between organizations of all around the world. Let's make live this declaration!

Download the PDF version here


Starting from a proposal issued by an initial group, we as organisations, social movements, trade unions, and other groups and individuals present in Tunis for the World Social Forum shared our analysis, experiences and perspectives around health and social protection.

We focused on issues related to the social determinants of health such as poverty, working conditions, education, gender inequality, and access to water. We also discussed the growing marketisation of health, healthcare and social protection worldwide.

Our discussions show that the crisis in health and social protection is in fact the consequence of the global neoliberal politics:

  • Financialisation of the economy, supported by monetary policies, as well as international debt engulf all nations, big and small, forcing austerity on the people and promoting interests of banks and multinational companies to the detriment of social and health policies.
  • Unequal power relations translate into trade treaties that place profits of banks and multinational companies over those of people, with the complicity of several governments.
  • A globalised marked for health care and social protection has catastrophic impact on access to services, employment, retirement, working conditions, the quality of care and migration of health workers from the global South to the North and from the public to the private sector.
  • Increased militarisation and occupation cause death, loss of land, work and food, while also promoting a reaction in the form of rising intolerance between communities, terrorism and sectarian conflicts.
  • The major burden of the crisis is faced by those already marginalised – women, children, migrants, the poor, people living with disabilities, workers and peasants.

Health is life in all its dimensions: physical, mental, social, environmental. It is a fundamental and inalienable human right and a common social good for all humanity; it requires that people can live in peace all over in the world and free from occupation.

Alternatives are urgent and necessary!

  • The rights of people to clean environment, good employment and working conditions, access to water, education, food, culture, housing and well being must be realised, granted, defended and expanded.
  • A universal and comprehensive social protection designed to promote social justice and dignity needs to be put in place.
  • Priority must be given to an approach based on the principles of comprehensive primary health care, including prevention and the respectful use of natural resources.
  • A unified health and social protection system must be entirely public, financed by progressive taxation – including of capital – and/or social contributions.
  • This system must be owned by the public and accountable to the public through participatory systems of governance at all levels.
  • It must reject all forms of marketisation and be free at the point of care.
  • The right to access to essential medicines, of good quality and not protected by patent monopolies must be granted.
  • International institutions must be transparent and totally independent from interests of multinationals and private financing.

Inspired by our experiences, we believe that the time is now for collective action!

  • Let us work through our networks, sharing and circulating knowledge and analysis, expanding our movements, strengthening one another in our mobilisations and creating new international solidarities that can help us change the power balance.
  • Starting from the concrete local, sectoral and conjunctural experiences, let us popularise our analysis and make the pedagogic tools accessible, strengthening our convergences and increasing our capacity of action. Let us participate in the development of the capacity of political analysis on the choices before society.
  • Let us act on the political level:
  • laws must guarantee a real right to health and social protection;
  • let us create strong popular movements that can control and put pressure on political sytems so that they respect and enact these rights.
  • As health professionals, users, citizens... Let us become, through training and sensitisation, true agents of change.
  • Let us create alliances between professionals and users, trade unions and citizen movements, and let us promote local alliances among diverse actors in defence of health and social protection.
  • Let us strengthen the actions for a convergence with movements acting on social determinants of health, such as climate, trade, austerity, debt, working conditions, and gender equality.

Dates of action

  • 18th of April 2015: international day of action against free-trade
  • 18th - 26th of May 2015: WHO Annual Assembly, Geneva - contact [email protected] and information
  • June 2015: week of action in solidarity with Greece and against austerity - contact [email protected] and information
  • 17th - 24th of October 2015: international week of action day decided by the social movements assembly in the World Social Forum
  • November-December 2015: COP 21, Paris - contact and information:
  • 7th of April 2016: Forum on social protection in Maghreb, Marrakech - contact and information: [email protected]
  • 7th of April every year: World Health Day

Action Aid India, Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (ATFD), Association for the Defence of the Public Health Sector, for the Right of Professionals and Users (Tunisia), Tunisian Association for the Right to Health, ATTAC Morocco, Committee for the Abolition of Thirld World Debt (CADTM), National Central of Employees (CNE, Belgium), Collective for the Right to Health in Morocco, CUT Brazil, National Federation of Health (UGTT), Algerian Forum for Citizenship and Modernity, Regional Forum for the Right to Water in the Arab Region, World Social Forum on Health and Social Security (FSMSS), Global Social Justice, International Association of Health Policy (IAHP), Doctors of the World Belgium in Tunisia, Network for Transformative Social Protection, Tunisian Observatory on Economics, People's Health Movement (PHM), European Network against the Privatization and Marketisation of Health and Social Protection, National Network Debt and Development (RNDD, Niger), Sud Santé Sociaux (France), National Union of Doctors, Pharmacists and Dentists (UGTT), National Union of Social Security (UGTT), General Water Union (UGTT), Théâtre du Copion (Belgium), Thirld World Health Aid/Médecine pour le Tiers Monde (TWHA/M3M, Belgium), Union of Unemployed Graduates (UDC, Tunisia), General Union of Tunisian Students (UGET), Tunisian General Union of Work (UGTT).

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