In September 2011, the UN General Assembly declared that the global burden and threat of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) constituted one of the major challenges for development in the twenty-first century: in 2008, 36 of the 57 million deaths globally (63%) were attributed to NCDs, including cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. By recognizing NCDs as largely preventable, it urged the international community to take action at global, regional and national levels to prevent and control their surge. To this end it recommended the adoption of a 'regulatory mix' of multi-sectoral, cost-effective, population-wide interventions in order to reduce the impact of the common NCD risk factors, namely tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity. Yet how to respond to the growing incidence of NCDs is a major source of complexities in risk analysis and regulatory decision-making: the conditions in which people live, poverty, uneven distribution of wealth, lack of education, rapid urbanization and population ageing, as well as the economic, social, gender, political, behavioral and environmental determinants of health are all contributory factors to the prevalence of NCDs. At the same time, the legitimacy, the effectiveness as well as the design of any regulatory intervention aimed at promoting healthier lifestyle remain highly contested.
The European Union has recently recognized the growing impact of NCDs on the EU's economy and the well-being of its citizens and has consequently started to develop policies intended to tackle the four main factors to which they are linked. Nevertheless, if common themes emerge between the different EU policies intended to promote healthier lifestyles, no attempt has yet been made to systematize them.
We therefore propose to hold a two-day workshop with selected speakers and discussants to identify horizontal, common themes and determine whether the lessons learned in relation to each area of EU intervention may be transposed to the others. More generally, this workshop will offer an opportunity for researchers (PhD students, post-docs, researchers and established academics), policy makers and other stakeholders to reflect on the role which the European Union should play in promoting healthier lifestyles, in light of the moral, philosophical, legal and political challenges associated with the regulation of individual choices. Special attention will be paid to the role that the relevant industries may realistically be called to play in tackling the rising tide of NCDs.
The questions the workshop will focus on include (but are not limited to):
- the role of the EU in promoting healthier lifestyle and how powers should be shared between the EU and its Member States in public health matters;
- the role of consumer information, taxation, reformulation and marketing restrictions with regard to tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy food in promoting healthier lifestyles and their impact on the EU internal market;
- the international role the EU can/should play and its relationship with the World Health Organization and other international organizations, as a result of the conclusion of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the 2004 WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health and the 2007 WHO Global Strategy to Reduce Harmful Use of Alcohol;
- identification of the drivers behind the emergence of an EU lifestyle policy: is there an economic case for regulating lifestyle health risk determinants?
- the role of the EU impact assessment system in the preparation of legislative proposals and rule-making;
- the role played by the principles of transparency, consultation, and proportionality in ensuring that the legitimate interests of key stakeholders are sufficiently taken into account;
- the role of various stakeholders in supporting healthier lifestyles, including the role of the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health and the EU Alcohol and Health Forum;
- the assessment of different policy initiatives to determine the most appropriate forms of intervention (statutory regulation, self-regulation, co-regulation, nudges) in relevant policy areas;
- the challenge of integrating the findings of behavioral research into lifestyle policy-making, in particular the potential role and legitimacy of nudge-inspired measures in changing individual behavior and establishing social norms;
- the extent to which tobacco control may represent a blueprint for the regulation of lifestyle risks in the EU; - what the specific characteristics of EU regulation are that make problems easier or harder to solve than at national level;
- the extent to which the particular vulnerability of children requires a targeted regulatory intervention;
- the role the right to health and other fundamental rights should play in the debate;
- the impact of lifestyle regulation policies on the IP system, such as trademarks, and technological innovation, such as e-cigarettes, food reformulation and food supplements;
- the extent to which it is beneficial and justified to talk about an emerging EU lifestyle policy;
- the constraints imposed by the WTO Agreements to the emergence of a EU lifestyle regulation policy.
- Alberto Alemanno, Associate Professor of Law at HEC Paris and Editor of the European Journal of Risk Regulation
- Amandine Garde, Senior Lecturer in Law and Director of the Durham European Law Institute, Durham University
The event will consist of a two-day workshop to be held at HEC Paris Campus on 27 and 28 September 2012. The workshop is supported by the Jean Monnet Chair in EU Law & Risk Regulation as well as by the HEC Paris Foundation.
It is anticipated that the papers presented at the workshop will form the basis of an edited collection.
Please submit an abstract of between 300 and 500 words, including a title, to :
- Alberto Alemanno, firstname.lastname@example.org and
- Amandine Garde, email@example.com by Tuesday 22nd May 2012.