16th World Congress on Public Health (WCPH2020). Public health for the future of humanity: analysis, advocacy and action, 12-16 October 2020, organised by the World Federation of Public Health Association (WFPHA) in collaboration with the European Public Health Association (EUPHA) and the Italian Society of Hygiene, Preventive Medicine and Public Health (SItI)



Workshop - Health promotion: An integrative paradigm for sustainable health, wellbeing and development, IUHPE


A critical reflection on the enablers of transformative health promotion actionclick here for slides

Margaret Barry, IUHPE President

Strengthening health promotion research - click here for slides

Louise Potvin, IUHPE Board member, Co-chair of the 24th IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion (IUHPE 2022) and Chair of its Global Organising Committee, Canada

Strengthening health promotion policy - click here for slides

Evelyne De Leeuw, IUHPE Board member, Co-chair of the Global Scientific Committee of IUHPE 2022

Strengthening health promotion practice - click here for slides

Stephan Van Den Broucke, IUHPE Vice President for Scientific Affairs


Click here to visit the IUHPE 2022 website.


This workshop organised by IUHPE addressed the importance of health promotion for enabling all human beings to have healthy lives, to maximise their health potential and ensure that no one is left behind.  Health promotion is a critical component of modern health systems and a vital strategy for sustainable health development and human flourishing. Effective health promotion strategies are essential in addressing the broader determinants of health, reducing health inequities, and tackling current and emerging health challenges to human development.

Achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and universal health coverage calls for concerted action on health promotion as an integral component of modern health systems and future development. While successive global health policies have endorsed the need to invest in health promotion, political commitment to implementing health promotion is lacking and health policies and budgets remain focused on curative approaches. Health promotion is often poorly understood, both within the health sector and society more widely, and there is a limited appreciation of what is required to translate health promotion into effective action. Transformative health promotion actions are needed to deliver on improved population health and wellbeing and the creation of a healthy society where human wellbeing can flourish.

This workshop aimed to engage participants in an interactive discussion on how health promotion policy, research and practice can be strengthened in order to advance human health and wellbeing. Critical insights were exchanged on how to bring a renewed focus on health promotion as a key transformative and disruptive strategy for advancing human wellbeing development. The workshop critically considered what mechanisms are needed for strengthening health promoting policies, implementation processes and structures, capacities and research, to advance population health and wellbeing and a healthier future for all.


Key messages:

  • Health promotion actions are critical to the delivery of improved population health and health equity, transforming health systems and enhancing human wellbeing and sustainable development.

  • Strengthening health promoting policies, practices and research is essential to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and enable the conditions for a healthier world.

Workshop - Health Literacy in Policies: European and National Perspectives, EUPHA-HP, WHO/Europe, Health Literacy Europe, IHLA, Interdisciplinary Centre for Health Literacy Research - Bielefeld University


WHO European Health Literacy Action Plan

Kristine Sørensen, President of the International Health Literacy Association, Executive Chair of Health Literacy Europe

Expert Recommendations for Health Literacy Policies addressing Children and Adolescents - click here for slides

Orkan Okan – EUPHA-Health Promotion, Bielefeld University

Health Literacy Policy in Israel. Culturally Appropriate Health Systemsclick here for slides

Diane Levin-Zamir, Chair of the IUHPE Global Working Group on Health Literacy, Chair of the National Health Promotion Council, Israel Ministry of Health

A National Position Paper: Health Literacy from a Structural Perspective-A path to equity in health?click here for slides

Helle Terkildsen Maindal, Danish Society of Public Health, the Danish Health Literacy Network, Aarhus University


Members of the IUHPE Global Working Group on Health Literacy actively participated in a workshop on health literacy. More than 70 participants joined the virtual workshop from across the world and contributed to a lively discussion on health literacy and public health policy making.

Health literacy has evolved into a key dimension of public and global health policy. In the wake of Health in all Polices (HiAP), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and recent health equity discussions, health literacy plays an important role in the context of health promotion and education in order to empower people and enable systems to sustain more effective health communication and better health outcomes. Health literacy increases personal and organizational capacities to deal with health information and make informed decisions, as well as creating an environment that supports these actions. In recent years, digitalization and digital transformation of societies and everyday environments have contributed to the increasing awareness of the role of health literacy for navigation of these new and often complex environments. Together, these developments have facilitated the establishment of health literacy as a critical policy item on agendas across the world, such as that of the IUHPE Position statement on health literacy. A practical vision for a health literate world.

In response to these developments, the aim of this workshop was to address policy issues in relation to health literacy and to:

  • present research findings from recent health literacy policy initiatives, such as the WHO European health literacy roadmap and action plan and European national policies and

  • initiate a critical discussion regarding future health literacy policy development in the European region and beyond. 

Key messages:

  • Health literacy policy is an important cornerstone of national and global public health and policy strategies and linked to the UN Sustainable Developmental Goals.

  • WHO Europe has launched a health literacy strategy and is now developing a pan-European action plan that should help to promote health literacy in populations in the 53 countries of the European Region.

  • Worldwide, there are already 26 health literacy policies in 18 countries that specifically address children and a hand-on guide on how to develop new strategies and improve existing ones is being developed.

  • Policy planning must include cultural appropriateness as an important dimension to depict the diversity of people in order to ensure that action on health literacy reaches all populations effectively and where they stand – including during a period of health crisis.

  • In order to enhance health literacy development in the population and generate better health outcomes, health literate thinking and health literacy responsiveness must be integrated into current health strategies, including drawing the link between health literacy and the UN SDGs.

Pre-conference - Helping people to help themselves to better health, WHO Collaborating Centre & UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education, EUPHA Health Promotion Section and EHESP School of Public Health


Please visit the pre-conference webpage for up-to-date information on this event and its follow-up.


Several members of IUHPE were engaged in this pre-conference that aimed to result in a statement with the main conditions for large-scale implementation of policies and practices that leave no one behind, by reviewing the evidence and learning from innovations in the field.

Objectives of the pre-conference:

  • available evidence on the mechanisms underpinning participation, non-participation and victim-blaming;

  • factors explaining the over-investment in interventions targeting individual determinants of health at the expense of actions on the SDH;

  • innovations in participatory community-based interventions that improve daily living conditions and indicators of health and well-being;

  • enablers and barriers to scaling-up health promotion and community-based approaches.


  • Didier Jourdan, WHO Collaborating Center & UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education

  • Eric Breton, EHESP School of Public Health, France

  • Goof Buijs, WHO Collaborating center & UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education

  • Nina Bartelink, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, the Netherlands

  • Marco Akerman, School of Public Health, University of São Paulo, Brazil

  • Orkan Okan, Vice-President of the EUPHA Health Promotion section, Interdisciplinary Centre for Health Literacy Research, Bielefeld University, Germany,

  • Louise Potvin, School of Public Health, Université de Montréal, Canada

  • David Houéto, President of RÉFIPS, School of Public Health, Parakou University, Benin

  • Faten Ben Abdelaziz, Coordinator of Health Promotion, WHO


Last chance to contribute to the statement! You are all invited to share your experience by answering two short questions by 30 October 2020 and contribute to the pre-conference statement on large-scale implementation of policies and practices that leave no one behind.

Question 1: What explains the priority to invest in programmes and policies targeting individuals, rather than upstream social determinants of health?

Question 2: How can we contribute to scaling-up health promotion and   community-based approaches?

Answer these questions or contribute directly to the scrumble board