Successful advocacy to protect the right to health in Argentina

09th December 2018

Failing to prevent NCDs is a breach of the obligation in Argentina's National Constitution to protect its citizens.

In Argentina, more than 35% of adults are overweight, 20% are clinically obese and in addition, obesity in adolescents has grown from 4.4% to 5.9% in the past five years. Moreover, 25% of the country's population smokes, yet Argentina is still not a member of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

In that context, FIC Argentina (Fundación InterAmericana del Corazón) submitted a shadow report to the UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), which stressed the government's obligation, as found in the National Constitution, to protect people's health, particularly regarding obesity and tobacco control.

The report includes recommendations for public policy:

  1. To regulate and restrict marketing of unhealthy food and beverages and to ban all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion, sponsorship and product display;
  2. To adopt a food labelling policy according to international best practices;
  3. To implement tax measures to discourage consumption of soda and to raise tobacco taxes;
  4. To ratify the FCTC.

FIC's advocacy strategy was fruitful, as the CESCR has recommended that Argentina implement effective public policies to reduce consumption of unhealthy food and beverages (by implementing better food labelling and soda taxes) and to ratify the FCTC.

CESCR’s Concluding Observations to Argentina [in Spanish and French only] strengthen the link between NCDs prevention and human rights. They recognise the necessity to promote public policies to control NCDs risk factors as an effective tool to protect the right to health. In addition, the observations can help to promote effective legislation to reduce the impact of the tobacco, obesity and overweight epidemics in Argentina.