Chartering a path for creating ‘wellbeing societies’

A webishop to explore and discuss the potentials of the Geneva Charter for Wellbeing to inform health promotion in Aotearoa in the next few decades will be held on April 7, starting at 11am.


In December last year the senior leadership team of HPF and its collaborators were among over 5000 participants of the 10th WHO Global Conference on Health Promotion, who met virtually and in Geneva, Switzerland, and agreed on the Charter.


The conference marked the start of a global movement on the concept of wellbeing in societies. The Charter which builds on the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion and the legacy of nine global conferences on health promotion outlines the necessary elements of a ‘wellbeing society’ and highlights the need for global commitments to achieve equitable health and social outcomes now and for future generations, without destroying the health of our planet. 


“Building wellbeing societies, addressing planetary health and human wellbeing, acknowledging the spiritual dimension of wellbeing, and including the knowledge and leadership of Indigenous peoples are some of the key elements of the charter that are of direct relevance to Aotearoa New Zealand,” says HPF Executive Director Sione Tu’itahi.


The Charter will drive policy-makers and world leaders to adopt this approach and commit to concrete action, according to @WHO.

The webishop’s panel of speakers will comprise Dr Mihi Ratima, Mr Tu’itahi and HPF’s Deputy Executive Director Leanne Eruera who were all speakers at the conference.


“Health does not begin in a hospital or clinic. It begins in our homes and communities, with the food we eat and the water we drink, the air we breathe, in our schools and our workplaces,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General. “We have to fundamentally change the way that leaders in politics, the private sector, and international institutions think about and value health, and to promote growth that is based on health and well-being for people and the planet, for countries in all income levels.”

The Charter outlines the necessary elements of a ‘well-being society’ and what needs to be done in order to better prevent and respond to the multiple health and ecological crises we face globally. It identifies key action areas and offers instruments for implementation.

The document encourages five key actions:  Design an equitable economy that serves human development within planetary boundaries; Create public policy for the common good; Achieve universal health coverage; Address the digital transformation to counteract harm and disempowerment and to strengthen the benefits and value and preserve the planet.

To change the global development landscape, both the wellbeing of people and the planet must become central to defining humanity’s progress. This Charter calls upon non-governmental and civic organizations, academia, business, governments, international organizations and all concerned to work in society-wide partnerships for decisive implementation of strategies for health and wellbeing. These will drive the transformation towards wellbeing societies in all countries, centering around the most marginalized populations.


Moving forward countries must prioritize health as part of a larger ecosystem that encompasses environmental, social, economic, and political factors. Universal health coverage, based on strong primary health care, must be at the core of all our efforts, as the cornerstone of social, economic and political stability. And the narrative around health should be reframed, not as a cost, but as an investment in our common future.


More on the speakers:

Dr Mihi Ratima (Whakatōhea, Ngāti Awa) is a Director of Taumata Associates (a Māori public health consultancy) and a leading academic in Māori public health and kaupapa Māori research. She is a Principal Investigator on the longitudinal research project Te Kura Mai i Tawhiti and was an inaugural 2016 HRC Ngā Pou Senior Māori Health Research Fellow. She is a former Associate Professor in Māori Health and Director of Māori Health Research at the Auckland University of Technology. Her international experience includes work as a Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow at Harvard University, a World Health Organisation analyst and a Fulbright Scholar at the University of New Mexico.

Read more about Sione Tu’itahi HERE.

Read more about Leanne Eruera HERE.