Health promotion

Jakarta Statement on Healthy Workplaces

The participants attending the Symposium on Healthy Workplaces at the 4th International Conference on Health Promotion (Jakarta, July 1997) underlined the great importance of work settings for the promotion of health of working populations, their families and friends, the community and society at large. A healthy workforce is vital for sustainable social and economic development on global, national, and local level.

The globalization of business life, technological developments and changes in the demographic structure of populations are leading to new types of employment patterns, such as temporary and part-time work, self-employment and telework. High rates of unemployment are becoming one of the major social problems all over the world. The participants of the symposium stated that "there is no shortage of work, only of jobs. We have to reconsider our values and combine economic development with human development."

The various trends foreseeable in society have to be taken into account for the development of policies and action plans influencing workers' health. Until now most investments for health of working populations have been made in large-scale enterprises. However, informal work settings, small-scale and micro enterprises are becoming increasingly important as new venues for work, national stability and economic growth. This poses considerable challenges to all sectors of society, and calls in line with the Jakarta Declaration for partnership between non-governmental organizations, all branches of the public and private sector, educational bodies and the media.

Comprehensive workplace approaches are essential which take into consideration physical, emotional, psychosocial, organizational and economic factors both within work settings and all other settings, in which people fulfill their multiple life roles. Among other things, this means that strong links to existing setting approaches such as Healthy Cities, Health Promoting Hospitals and Health Promoting Schools have to be established. In the face of these future challenges, WHO has developed a new initiative, called WHO's global Healthy Work Approach (HWA), which serves as a catalyst for partnership between the different stakeholders. This approach is based upon the following four complementary principles:

  • health promotion
  • occupational health and safety
  • human resource management
  • and sustainable (social and environmental) development.

Together, these fundamental principles make it possible to deal with the impact of a wide variety of factors on working people, the surrounding community and society at large.

To strengthen such a global initiative the participants of the symposium at the Jakarta Conference stressed the importance to advocate for global unity and solidarity to promote and protect the health of employed and unemployed people. Priority areas, criteria and key strategies have to be specified in every region of the world through an open dialogue between the different sectors of society. This process will have to be supported by a strong investment in research on the impact of workers health on social and economic development.