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


New responses are needed

To address emerging threats to health, new forms of action are needed. The challenge for the coming years will be to unlock the potential for health promotion inherent in many sectors of society, among local communities, and within families.

There is a clear need to break through traditional boundaries within government sectors, between governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and between the public and private sectors. Cooperation is essential; this requires the creation of new partnerships for health, on an equal footing, between the different sectors at all levels of governance in societies.

Priorities for health promotion in the 21st Century

1. Promote social responsibility for health

Decision-makers must be firmly committed to social responsibility. Both the public and private sectors should promote health by pursuing policies and practices that:

  • avoid harming the health of individuals
  • protect the environment and ensure sustainable use of resources
  • restrict production of and trade in inherently harmful goods and substances such as tobacco and armaments, as well as discourage unhealthy marketing practices
  • safeguard both the citizen in the marketplace and the individual in the workplace
  • include equity-focused health impact assessments as an integral part of policy development.
2. Increase investments for health development

In many countries, current investment in health is inadequate and often ineffective.

Increasing investment for health development requires a truly multisectoral approach including, for example, additional resources for education and housing as well as for the health sector.

Greater investment for health and reorientation of existing investments, both within and among countries, has the potential to achieve significant advances in human development, health and quality of life.

Investments for health should reflect the needs of particular groups such as women, children, older people, and indigenous, poor and marginalized populations.

3. Consolidate and expand partnerships for health

Health promotion requires partnerships for health and social development between the different sectors at all levels of governance and society. Existing partnerships need to be strengthened and the potential for new partnerships must be explored.

Partnerships offer mutual benefit for health through the sharing of expertise, skills and resources. Each partnership must be transparent and accountable and be based on agreed ethical principles, mutual understanding and respect. WHO guidelines should be adhered to.

4. Increase community capacity and empower the individual

Health promotion is carried out by and with people, not on or to people. It improves both the ability of individuals to take action, and the capacity of groups, organizations or communities to influence the determinants of health.

Improving the capacity of communities for health promotion requires practical education, leadership training, and access to resources. Empowering individuals demands more consistent, reliable access to the decision-making process and the skills and knowledge essential to effect change.

Both traditional communication and the new information media support this process. Social, cultural and spiritual resources need to be harnessed in innovative ways.

5. Secure an infrastructure for health promotion

To secure an infrastructure for health promotion, new mechanisms for funding it locally, nationally and globally must be found. Incentives should be developed to influence the actions of governments, nongovernmental organizations, educational institutions and the private sector to make sure that resource mobilization for health promotion is maximized. "Settings for health" represent the organizational base of the infrastructure required for health promotion. New health challenges mean that new and diverse networks need to be created to achieve intersectoral collaboration. Such networks should provide mutual assistance within and among countries and facilitate exchange of information on which strategies have proved effective and in which settings.

Training in and practice of local leadership skills should be encouraged in order to support health promotion activities. Documentation of experiences in health promotion through research and project reporting should be enhanced to improve planning, implementation and evaluation.

All countries should develop the appropriate political, legal, educational, social and economic environments required to support health promotion.

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