While recommendations identify the larger goals of policy, planning and research, the other purpose they serve is to chart a course for reaching that goal.
Take the example of smoking. Decades of research have demonstrated conclusively that smoking and other types of tobacco use contribute to a wide variety of illnesses, many of them deadly. Worldwide, tobacco kills an estimated 5.4 million people a year and this number is expected to rise to 8.3 million by 2030.
While the obvious solution to tobacco-related illnesses and deaths is to reduce tobacco use, many different approaches to achieving this goal can and have been recommended. According to a World Health Organization report, the “most cost-effective ways of reducing tobacco consumption … are price increases through tobacco taxes and the creation of smoke-free environments. Other non-price measures, such as comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, sponsorship and promotion, strong warning labels and wide dissemination of information in support of these key policy interventions are also effective” (WHO 2007, p. 1).
Sources: http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/gender_tobacco/facts/en/index2.html; WHO. (2007). Gender and Tobacco Control: A policy brief. http://www.who.int/gender/documents/tobacco/9789241595407.pdf