Italian version

Declaration in favour of peace by Italian scientific health societies

As scientific societies of the health sector with professional obligations focused on the protection and promotion of health, we feel an urgent need to speak out publicly and jointly in favour of peace and against war in all areas of the planet. 

Armed conflicts have continued to affect many countries in recent years: 2022 saw the highest number of conflicts since the end of World War II, and now, in 2023, this trend is being dramatically confirmed in a further spiral of violence involving not only Ukraine and the Middle East, but also many other countries. At the same time significant and effective initiatives in favour of diplomatic and non-violent solutions are lacking.

On the premise of the ethical and humanitarian principles of health protection that characterize our professions and in adherence of the Italian Constitution1 and the United Nations Charter,2 which rejects the doctrine of the 'just war', we cannot find any justification for the use of war to resolve disputes between peoples. 

We endorse and strongly reaffirm what is stated in the Ottawa Charter,3 a document that inspires the international public health community, according to which peace is the first of the fundamental prerequisites for health. Other factors subsequently mentioned are housing, education, food, income, a stable ecosystem, sustainable resources, social justice and equity. All of these factors are equally compromised or destroyed by war, with effects that persist well after the cessation of hostilities.The urgency to oppose wars today is given by the fact that use of currently available technologies in modern warfare implies that armed conflicts are invariably characterized by:

  • lack of spatial, temporal and legal limits;
  • inability to discriminate between military and civilian targets (including hospitals); 
  • violation of international humanitarian laws;
  • negative effects on human health in the short, medium and long term;
  • strong negative impact on younger people and future generations;
  • negative effects on food security;
  • environmental and ecosystem damage, with further acceleration of the climate crisis.

All this happens against the backdrop of a growing nuclear threat which pose such a serious risk to the health of populations, that the most important international medical journals felt the obligation to publish a joint editorial (August 2023)4 in which they urged health professions’ associations worldwide to inform their members about and to support every effort to reduce the risks of nuclear war, including those caused by errors or miscalculations.

Our demands and our commitment

In our view, given this context, the health scientific community must speak up to stop all current wars and preventing future ones, and to search instead for effective nonviolent solutions that address the underlying causes of conflict, in accordance with the deontological obligations of the health professions and the World Health Organisation's Global Initiative for Peace and Health.5

Conflict prevention and opposition imply the support and strengthening of the UN peacekeeping and peacebuilding infrastructure, and of military expenditures reduction initiatives, redirecting resources towards objectives of social welfare, health and promoting the universalism of health systems. 

With regard to the risk of nuclear conflict, we call on the Italian government to participate in the forthcoming UN meetings on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,6 with the ultimate aim of signing and ratifying it. 

At the same time, we call on decision makers to implement - and on public opinion to support - interventions, such as the protection of personnel, facilities and services of the health systems of war affected countries, and the reception of refugees. 

As professionals working inside the health sector, we have several more specific tasks:

  • to contribute to the quantitative description of the direct and indirect effects of war on health;
  • to deepen the understanding of the complex relationships that link war to other events, which are themselves health risk factors, such as migration, famine, alterations to ecosystems;
  •  to develop strategies for preventing and mitigating the damage to health produced by the combination of factors that anticipate and follow conflicts;
  •  to inform and stress the social responsibility of both the population and the decision makers in regard to  the implementation of effective strategies to prevent and stop wars. 

The associations signing this declaration are committed to continue to work on these issues, in fulfillment of their ethical, deontological, professional, scientific and social duties.


  1. Costituzione italiana, art. 11.
  2. UN Charter, vd. Preambolo e art. 51
  3. Reducing the Risks of Nuclear War—The Role of Health Professionals.
  4. JAMA 2023;330(7):601-602.
  5. WHO Global Health and Peace Initiative (GHPI)
  6. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)

This document was produced in a participatory manner on the initiative of the Italian Epidemiological Association and the journal Epidemiologia & Prevenzione. Other scientific Associations also participated in the discussion and drafting of the text; you can retrace the document's production process by clicking here; other materials are available here (in Italian).

See the list of the Italian Scientific Health Associations which endorsed the document for peace here.

As a single individual you can sign the document filling in the following form. 
As a Scientific Health Association, please send an e-mail to