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Regional Office for the South West Pacific

Statement on behalf of IUHPE at:
WHO-WPRO Regional Committee,
18-22 September, 2000, Manila (Philippines)
Agenda item 9.1

by Dr Rosmarie Erben, IUHPE/SWP Regional Director

Mr/Mme Chair, distinguished delegates to the RCM,

thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak on behalf of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education. As leading non-governmental organization in the field of health promotion, the IUHPE feels encouraged to support the themes and focuses described in the document WHO in the Western Pacific Region "A framework for action", especially those under Building Healthy Communities and Populations.

We have followed with interest WHO's steps towards the implementation and reviewed the excellent report of the Regional Director to this fifty-first session of the Regional Committee.

I focus my comments on Healthy Settings and Environment but they refer also to Child and Adolescent Health and Development and other foci.

1. We welcome WHO's continued appreciation of the wider context in which people live for their health and wellbeing. The recognition of determinants of health and ill-health forms the basis for comprehensive health promotion strategies. In line with the Ottawa Charter, which we consider to be the leading policy document, health promotion aims at the development of living and working conditions conducive to health and at achieving equity through the use of approaches that empower communities and individuals.

2. We have noted WHO's intention to strengthen the evidence base for health promotion policy and practice and are pleased to draw your attention to a project on evidence, carried out by IUHPE with the support of the European Commission, involving leading academicians, practitioners, and members of the political audience. It resulted in a two-part set of documents on "Shaping Public Health in a New Europe, The Evidence of Health Promotion Effectiveness". The documents demonstrate that health promotion is a valuable, effective, relatively inexpensive strategy for improving health and quality of life. They have been widely distributed and also served as basis for a dinner-debate with the Parliament of the European Union, arranged by IUHPE, on the theme of "Equity in Health". We have now designed a global programme - "Using the Evidence to Move Forward" and would like to collaborate with WHO and the countries in the Western Pacific Region.

3. We are glad about WHO's regional focus on healthy cities, islands, communities, schools, workplaces, markets, hospitals and other health settings. Global and regional leadership is needed in these important areas of health promotion work while building on country successes. The IUHPE participated in the WHO Meeting on Health Promotion and Protection: Harmonizing Our Response to the Challenges of the 21st Century held in the Regional Office in August 1999, which also formulated a regional action plan on healthy settings. There were extensive experiences reported on the development of health-promoting schools in the Region and the collaboration between the health, education and other sectors. We noted that the Regional Directors report does not adequately reflect this area of work and suggest that next years report will again highlight the importance of health-promoting schools for child and adolescent health and for the development of healthy cities and islands. IUHPE continues to be a partner with WHO and other organizations in supporting countries in the development of health-promoting schools and hosts at present on it's regional website information on the Pacific Health Promoting Schools Network.

4. I would like to draw your attention to the XVIIth World Conference on health Promotion and Health Education with the theme " Health: An Investment for a Just Society in July 2001 in Paris, celebrating at the same time the 50th anniversary of the IUHPE. We hope that the many experiences in the Western Pacific Region with the settings approach will be shared with participants from other parts of the world. In Paris, we will tender to bring the XVIIIth World Conference in 2004 to this Region on a joint invitation of Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island countries with a focus on Indigenous health promotion. I would appreciate opportunities to discuss this with the distinguished delegates during this week.

Finally, I would like to thank the chair for giving me the floor and assure WHO and the Members States of IUHPE's will and capacity to act as partner in health promotion not only on global but at regional and country levels. Thank you.

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