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JA PreventNCD participation at FILTERED Conference: Joint efforts to tackle the challenges of reducing NCDs

20240628 104021(0)

Some of the JA PreventNCD participants at the conference

Summary from the conference

JA PreventNCD was present with several participants at the two-day conference “Challenging Big Industry Narratives: Alcohol, Tobacco, Unhealthy Food and Drinks - Population Measures and Policies”. The conference was organized by the action grant FILTERED (From sILos To synErgies to pRevEnt ncDs), with support from the Ministry of Health, Slovenia. 

At the conference, numerous topics relevant to JA PreventNCD’s work were discussed, including regulation of marketing, taxation, health warnings, awareness raising, conflicts of interest and commercial influences in policymaking processes. 

In the opening of the conference, the Slovenian Minister of Health, Denis Kordež, highlighted that the risk factors for NCDs are multisectoral in nature, and therefore require multisectoral responses. One such important response is addressing the commercial determinants of health. Several speakers and discussants stressed the need for joint efforts, across risk factors and across borders to counter industry efforts to avoid and delay regulations protecting public health. 

On the first day, Arnfinn Helleve, leader of JA PreventNCD’s work on Regulation and taxation (WP5), joined a panel, discussing opportunities for taxation of products harming health. In a session on the effects of health warning labels, Karine Gallopel-Morvan and Maj Berger Sæther, from the same WP, discussed evidence and national experiences regarding alcohol warning labels. Mojca Gabrijelčič leader of the JA PreventNCD work on sustainability (WP4) participated in discussions on awareness-raising campaigns for policy change, sharing experiences from the STOP project. Lastly, Dr Sandra Rados Krnel from Health in All Policies (WP9) participated in the discussion on implementing marketing restrictions on health-harming products.

On the second day, Scientific Coordinator, Knut-Inge Klepp, joined a panel on navigating diverse definitions and meanings in the field of prevention. Klepp highlighted JA PreventNCD’s efforts to accelerate prevention activities along the entire causal chain, with a particular focus on population-based interventions addressing social and environmental conditions for health. Additionally, Urška Erklavec participated in the plenary panel discussion on “Forward Together: Exploring Future Partnerships and Collective Action”.

The conference also featured a side event by representatives of the sustainability WP of JA PreventNCD. In the first presentation, Monika Brovč focused on sustainable development in policies and presented transition of the main three nutritional policies from JA Best-ReMaP to JA PreventNCD. Following this, Monika Robnik Levart shared insights from previous projects involving multistakeholder engagement and discussed sustainable planning, putting accountability cycle in the center, along with their vision about sustainability for JA PreventNCD. Jernej Trebežnik then presented some aspects of lobbying, advocacy, and accountability in public health, pointing out the unethical practices of the tobacco industry in Slovenia and abroad. The session concluded with Urška Erklavec's presentation on implementing social participation in health to make sure people's insights and lived experiences are considered when making policies with an aim to build trust and improve transparency in decision-making.

Sara Cerdas, Member of the European Parliament since 2019, presented inspiring concluding remarks. Cerdas highlighted that despite resistance to legislative measures in the Parliament, science is on our side. With the two recent reports, forming important background documents for JA PreventNCD (European Beating Cancer Plan and the NCD report Healthier Together), large steps have been taken in the right direction. Her main message to the conference participants in moving forward was to increasingly speak to policymakers from other sectors than health, such as finance, agriculture, and environment. Secondly, to build a connection with the population by using data actively and language they understand, as well as to guide the politicians by using plain language.

The participation of JA PreventNCD in the FILTERED conference underlined the importance of collaborative efforts on various topics addressing the challenges of reducing NCDs and effectively managing their main risk factors. The conference provided a unique opportunity for diverse stakeholders to network, debate and question critical issues. The insights, perspectives, experiences and strategies shared during the conference will enhance the JA PreventNCD’s ongoing work and the European efforts, driving impactful policy change to protect public health. 

To learn more about the conference, click here

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Knut-Inge Klepp

Filtered Panel

Panel discussion