Health promotion

Book Webinar: Health in All Policies

WHO Director-General Chan: Work across sectors to promote people's health

The World Health Organization is proud to co-host this 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion together with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health of Finland.

The job of protecting and promoting health has become more complex in a world of radically increased interdependence. Health everywhere is being shaped by the same powerful forces: demographic ageing, rapid urbanization, and the globalization of unhealthy lifestyles.

Policymakers everywhere face the same challenges: rising public expectations for health care, soaring costs, and the greatest gaps in income levels, opportunities, and health outcomes seen in recent decades.

At the global level, chronic noncommunicable diseases have overtaken infectious diseases as the leading cause of death. Many countries face a triple burden of noncommunicable diseases, infectious diseases, and the violence, traffic crashes, accidents, injuries, and mental disorders that often go hand-in-hand with rapid urbanization. The health sector, acting alone, cannot manage threats to health that have their root causes in multiple other sectors.

Action – making the arguments, crafting the policies, getting the results – is the focus of this conference. It departs from a solid foundation built by the Commission on Social Determinants of Health, the Rio Declaration on Sustainable Development, the UN Political Declaration on noncommunicable diseases, and the rich experience of the Finnish government in promoting health in all policies.

I wish participants every success as you explore practical ways to ensure that all sectors of government consider the consequences for health when formulating their policies. Health has been on the receiving end of policies made in other sectors for a long time. It is time to take a seat at the head of the table.