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10th Global Conference on Health Promotion
for Well-being, Equity, and Sustainable Development

13-15 December 2021 | Virtual

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The Tenth Global Conference on Health Promotion for Well-being, Equity and Sustainable Development, to be held on 13–15 December 2021, is organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) with the support of Finland and the United Arab Emirates, United Nations agencies and partners.

The event is taking place at a critical moment in our progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and building forward better in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Health promotion enables people to increase control over and improve their health. Against this backdrop, health promotion creates conditions and healthy environments for people where they live, work, age and play. The Conference will address how health promotion can advance well-being. It will be the first time that WHO addresses well-being as the theme of a major conference.

Participants at the Conference will discuss the contributions that health promotion can make to people’s and societies’ well-being. They will address these contributions in the context of key components of well-being. Discussions will be organized on the broad areas of people, the planet and prosperity. The Conference will offer an opportunity to present successful country examples of health promotion achieved by good governance for health and well-being. It will also show how such a shift contributes to mitigating public health challenges and paves the way to building forward with health promotion approaches.


1. Geneva Charter
2. Practical ways of promoting health and well-being at subnational level
3. Shaping policies and politics for well-being and sustainability
4. Education for health and well-being
5. Indigenous people and planetary health
6. Health-promoting hospitals
7. World report on social determinants of health
8. Diabetes-related health promotion, self-management, education and support: What are the challenges and opportunities, and where can we be by 2030?
9. Let’s Be Active - Global progress in promoting physical activity and implementation of the global action plan on physical activity
10. NCD investment case

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will have the honour of opening the conference with heads of state.


Achievement of health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being is challenged all over the world. Systemic and societal inequities; social unrest and armed conflict; the impacts of climate change, particularly on marginalized populations; and stalled mortality trends have been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, health promotion – enabling people to increase their control over their health in order to improve it – has been compromised. People are increasingly experiencing insecurity and are seeking effective ways to cope with complex, rapid change. COVID-19 has affected all countries and all communities, and governments have acknowledged the challenges and responded. Like other activities, health promotion has had some setbacks during this time but has also seen some inspiring examples of engagement and progress. Several countries, such as Finland and New Zealand, have paved the way by adopting innovative well-being economic frameworks for state budgeting. In this session, participants will discuss the current landscape of health promotion for well-being through the lens of today’s challenges.


To strengthen the role of health promotion in local and national, innovative approaches to sustaining social cohesion and solidarity and collaborative government actions 

Countries are adopting the well-being approach as the basis for state budgeting and agenda-setting to achieve sustainable development. What is the expected impact, and how can more countries be supported in adopting this approach? Objective: To articulate how a change to a well-being economy approach can advance achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and greater health equity. To report practical ways of achieiving a well-being economy, underlining the importance of strong political leadership.

The concept of well-being is applied in many ways. What are the key aspects of societal, individual and social well-being? To explore the current context of societal well-being, review some challenges to progress and consider opportunities to accelerate the agenda from the perspective of health promotion.

The current generation of adolescents is the largest ever, with 1.2 billion people aged 10–19 years worldwide. By 2030, the target date for achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, the number is projected to have grown by 7%, to nearly 1.3 billion. The COVID-19 pandemic is changing everything for adolescents and youth. They are experiencing transitions that will define their future well-being: completing education, moving into the workforce and forming life partnerships. This session will raise the visibility of youth-led initiatives on well-being and how they can be supported to increase their impact in their communities. 

1. Geneva Charter 
2. Soft-launch of WHO Health Taxes Book 
3. Well-being policy and budgeting 
4. Advancing well-being, equity and sustainable development through the workplace 
5. Innovating planetary health and well-being for all 
6. Health literacy: an empowering health promotion strategy to foster well-being, equity and sustainable development 
7. Achieving resilience, equity and sustainability by leaving no one behind 
8. Environmental aspects of tobacco 
9. Commit to quit: empowering tobacco users to quit 
10. How educational films can increase the well-being of populations and more equitable access to health care and health information

Scope: to present the concept of well-being in various cultures and contexts and draw lessons from ancestral wisdom and values. 

Scope: to learn how city leaders have addressed social and economic disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure a resilient future and built on local assets to support people and families in coping and thriving through innovative thinking, planning and acting.

1. Geneva Charter 
2. Health excise taxes as instruments to improve health and well-being
3. Multisectoral collaboration, community engagement and societal dialogue as effective approaches for urban governance to improve health and well-being
4. Advocacy for health promotion, World Federation of Public Health Associations
5. Gender-transformative leadership in practice: Health systems, gender equity and health worker well-being in a pandemic
6. World Health Professions Alliance
7. Health promotion for well-being in the COVID-19 pandemic: The impact of COVID-19 and opportunities for the world to “see”
8. Building coalitions to address alcohol consumption and improve equity and well-being
9. Digital health for health promotion and well-being: challenges and opportunities 


Humanity’s 21st century challenge is to meet the needs of current and future generations within planetary boundaries. This must ensure that everyone has access to all that is essential for a healthy life, from food and housing to health care and means for public participation, while collectively avoiding overconsumption of Earth’s life-support systems, safeguarding a stable climate, fertile soils and a protective ozone layer. In this time of increasingly rapid change and complexity, it is crucial to understand how best to make timely, effective contributions to achieve the ambitions of the SDGs. Redesigning economies for well-being requires a shift in economic priorities to protection of the planet, promotion of social protection, reduction of inequities, a better work–life balance, high-quality health services and investment in disease prevention, health promotion, cultural activities and better access to high-quality education and life-long learning. In making such changes, the economy will be put at the service of achieving the SDGs rather than being an end in itself. In this session, participants will discuss how the health promotion community can drive and support redesign of economies to prioritize well-being.


To identify the interconnected challenges faced in implementing health promotion and their links to a well-being agenda.

What are the predominant trends in mental ill health, and what are the positive, eudaemonic trends in mental health? What drives the trends in the determinants of health, and what are the appropriate responses? How is addressing mental health challenges linked to a well-being approach? This session will debate the challenges in addressing the social determinants of mental health and in promoting well-being from a human rights perspective. The aim is to discuss how “mental well-being” and mental health promotion can contribute to the economy of a well-being agenda by increasing social functioning and social capital and thus resulting in a stronger economy.

What are the inequities in health between and within countries and among socioeconomic, ethnic, gender and other groups? What has been effective in addressing these challenges? How is addressing health inequities linked to a well-being approach? This session will frame health equity as the foundation of well-being and identify key strategies to reduce health inequities in the context of COVID-19. Participants will review lessons learnt and best practices and share experiences and concrete examples, strategies and innovative ideas for improving health equity. 

Over the past decade, life expectancy has increased only marginally and has even decreased in many high-income countries. What has caused this plateauing, and to what extent could an increased focus on well-being address it? This session will first explore the underlying causes of the stalled mortality rates, including recent evidence on the link between health, well-being and broader social and economic policies. It will also adopt a global perspective and explore the role of a well-being approach in all settings, including low- and middle-income countries.

It will then examine the extent to which a greater focus on measuring and analysing well-being can help to understand these demographic trends and provide the tools and evidence for policy-makers to address them. In a moderated discussion, panelists will explore the gaps in current conceptual frameworks and propose recommendations for future analytical work, paving the way for strengthening measurement of well-being. 

Explore the role of cities in promoting health and well-being by examining challenges faced (particularly in the context of Covid-19) and discuss support mechanisms that are necessary and can be provided by national government institutions and frameworks, development partners (including WHO), civil society and more.


Since the first conference on health promotion in Ottawa 35 years ago, the health promotion community has continued to deepen and broaden its skills, tools, resources and experience to ensure that they are appropriate for improving the health of populations. Today’s challenges, however, require their application in an ever-changing, more complex context. In this session, participants will discuss how the health promotion community can use the tools and resources at its disposal to contribute to well-being in the new context, including to address climate change, environmental health, food security, health inequities and noncommunicable diseases.

Substantial understanding of health promotion and many resources have accrued, which can be applied in the new context. The experience includes:

• health literacy, to empower people to take informed decisions, to counteract misinformation and infodemics and to cope with ever-faster cycles of innovation;

• legal and fiscal tools to design structures to facilitate healthy choices;

• mechanisms for community engagement to ensure that people’s voices are heard;

• settings-based approaches, such as healthy cities and health-promoting schools;

• recognizing and addressing the commercial determinants of health; and

• pursuing health in all policies by collaborative, cross-government action.

In this session, participants will identify health promotion approaches for driving and supporting the redesign of economies to prioritize well-being through initiatives such as societal dialogue, multisectoral collaboration, community engagement and solidarity schemes, taking into consideration health literacy and settings.


To identify how the health promotion community, tools and resources can contribute to well-being in the rapidly changing in the post-pandemic context. 


The Global Council 3 (GC3) of the “SDGs in Action” campaign of the UAE is in its second term, with a robust membership representing diverse areas of health and a draft plan of action. Meetings to advance the plan are held weekly, with a focus on scaling up innovations in health to reach those furthest behind and to ensure that selected innovations are linked to financing, fast-tracking countries towards universal health coverage. These goals are urgent, given the retrograded progress due to the COVID-19 pandemic and persistent inequities in health worldwide. The GC3 agreed that the plan must be rooted in “country needs and priorities”. This panel will provide an opportunity to share the vision and engage country leadership to refine the GC3 plan.


To present the GC3 Plan of Action on scaling-up innovations for resilient health to a group of ministers to elicit their feedback. 

1. Geneva Charter
2. Active travel - an investment in health, well-being and the environment
3. Ensuring effective judicial protection: Well-being and the rule of law
4. Global Healthy Cities movement
5. Uniting for well-being
6. Health equity and well-being 
7. Health-promoting universities
8. Ensuring health literacy to reduce health inequality and promote well-being in the NCD agenda: Health literacy development for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases – a WHO report 
9. Optimizing brain health throughout the life-course
10. The comic book that initiated change in the neighbourhood


At the COP26 UN climate conference, WHO and the global health community published a special report on climate change and health, entitled ‘The Health Argument for climate action’. The report provides 10 recommendations for governments on how to maximize the health benefits of tackling climate change in a variety of sectors, such as energy, transport, finance and food systems, in order to avoid the worst health impacts of the climate crisis. As part of the COP26 Health Programme, over 50 countries committed to build climate resilient and low carbon health systems. Countries agreed to take concrete steps towards creating health systems that are resilient to growing climate impacts, while many countries also committed to transform their health systems to be more sustainable and low carbon. Fourteen countries have also set a target date to reach net zero carbon emissions in their health system before 2050. WHO and its partners will be supporting these countries in achieving their commitments in the months and years ahead. These health system commitments could at the same time guide countries towards a healthy and green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and promote health while addressing climate change. 

This session will highlight the current global status of NCD prevention and control and show that countries must accelerate progress to achieve the NCD targets. The session will also showcase tools and country best practices that could accelerate achievement of the NCDs targets. 

This session will consider the key outcomes of the UN Food Systems Summit and discuss how the health promotion community can contribute to accelerating coordinated delivery of priorities for achieving the nutrition-related Sustainable Development Goals.

This session will capture the lessons learnt on community participation in the Region of the Americas. 


Building on the previous plenary sessions, participants will identify concrete actions to which the health promotion community, stakeholders and partners will commit in order to advance the well-being agenda and assist countries in building resilient societies with health promotion as a mindset, capacity and community of practice. In this session, a political document will be adopted that reflects the views expressed by the participants and that will facilitate discussion among representatives of civil society organizations (including young people’s and women’s groups) and international agencies.


To reach a clear consensus on the actions recommended after the conference


Advancing a well-being agenda for everyone, everywhere and at all times requires adaptation of health promotion approaches and instruments to present and future public health challenges. COVID-19 has exacerbated social and economic inequities and fragilized public commodities. The world has been rapidly digitalized, which requires adaptation of the health promotion response. A new vision for health promotion is to create the social and economic conditions for everyone to achieve their full potential, even in the most adverse circumstances. The vision is based on recognition of the role of supportive social structures, inclusive governments and a social movement to promote well-being, propagate shared values and respect culture, heritage and history as assets for moving into the future.


To inspire participants to take forward the actions recommended in the political document