Health promotion

Jakarta Declaration on Leading Health Promotion into the 21st Century

The Fourth International Conference on Health Promotion: New Players for a New Era - Leading Health Promotion into the 21st Century, meeting in Jakarta from 21 to 25 July 1997

The Fourth International Conference on Health Promotion: New Players for a New Era - Leading Health Promotion into the 21st Century, meeting in Jakarta from 21 to 25 July 1997, has come at a critical moment in the development of international strategies for health. It is almost 20 years since the World Health Organizations Member States made an ambitious commitment to a global strategy for Health for All and the principles of primary health care through the Declaration of Alma-Ata. It is 11 years since the First International Conference on Health Promotion was held in Ottawa, Canada. That Conference resulted in proclamation of the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, which has been a source of guidance and inspiration for health promotion since that time. Subsequent international conferences and meetings have further clarified the relevance and meaning of key strategies in health promotion, including healthy public policy (Adelaide, Australia, 1988), and supportive environments for health (Sundsvall, Sweden, 1991). The Fourth International Conference on Health Promotion is the first to be held in a developing country, and the first to involve the private sector in supporting health promotion.

It has provided an opportunity to reflect on what has been learned about effective health promotion, to re-examine the determinants of health, and to identify the directions and strategies that must be adopted to address the challenges of promoting health in the 21st century. The participants in the Jakarta Conference hereby present this Declaration on action for health promotion into the next century.

Health promotion is a key investment

Health is a basic human right and is essential for social and economic development. Increasingly, health promotion is being recognized as an essential element of health development. It is a process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. Health promotion, through investment and action, has a marked impact on the determinants of health so as to create the greatest health gain for people, to contribute significantly to the reduction of inequities in health, to further human rights, and to build social capital. The ultimate goal is to increase health expectancy, and to narrow the gap in health expectancy between countries and groups.

The Jakarta Declaration on Health Promotion offers a vision and focus for health promotion into the next century. It reflects the firm commitment of participants in the Fourth International Conference on Health Promotion to draw upon the widest possible range of resources to tackle health determinants in the 21st century. Determinants of health: new challenges

The prerequisites for health are peace, shelter, education, social security, social relations, food, income, the empowerment of women, a stable eco-system, sustainable resource use, social justice, respect for human rights, and equity. Above all, poverty is the greatest threat to health.

Demographic trends such as urbanization, an increase in the number of older people and the high prevalence of chronic diseases pose new problems in all countries. Other social, behavioural and biological changes such as increased sedentary behaviour, resistance to antibiotics and other commonly available drugs, increased drug abuse, and civil and domestic violence threaten the health and well-being of hundreds of millions of people.

New and re-emerging infectious diseases, and the greater recognition of mental health problems, require an urgent response. It is vital that approaches to health promotion evolve to meet changes in the determinants of health.

Transnational factors also have a significant impact on health. These include the integration of the global economy, financial markets and trade, wide access to media and communications technology, and environmental degradation as a result of the irresponsible use of resources.

These changes shape peoples values, their lifestyles throughout the lifespan, and living conditions across the world. Some have great potential for health, such as the development of communications technology, while others, such as international trade in tobacco, have a major negative impact.