Salesa launches global health conference

It is vital to improve planetary health and achieve sustainable development for all says the Associate Minister for Health, Jenny Salesa.
Mrs Salesa made the comment while opening the 23 rd International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) World Health Promotion Conference in Rotorua last night. (April 7).

The conference which has the theme of ‘Waiora: Promoting Planetary Health and Sustainable Development for All’ reflects the indigenous focus and important feature of the event.

Mrs Salesa commended the Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand, which is co-hosting the conference, and IUHPE for putting the conference’s extensive programme together.

“We are at a unique point in history. We have a higher life expectancy, lower child mortality, lower maternal mortality and considerable advances in science and technology. Despite this, we are facing significant challenges to the health of global population and natural systems on which we depend.

“While common to all people and nations, these challenges impact some populations disproportionately. It is imperative that we strive to improve
planetary health and achieve sustainable development for all.”

Mrs Salesa said the Government will demonstrate its commitment to improving wellbeing and living standards for all New Zealanders when it releases the world’s first Wellbeing Budget this year by a Government.

“This approach lifts our gaze from health to wellbeing and reframes our understanding of the determinants of both health and wellbeing. Specific priorities include transitioning to a low-emissions economy, lifting incomes of those at the highest risk of experiencing poverty, for example, our Māori and Pacific communities, supporting innovation in the digital age, improving child and youth wellbeing, and addressing mental health needs, particularly for those under 24 years old.”

Mrs Salesa said the conference provided a valuable opportunity for New
Zealand to learn from the collective expertise and wisdom of the international delegates.

Sione Tu’itahi, the Executive Director for the Health Promotion Forum said HPF and its partners wished Mr Tu’itahi said while climate change was the most significant issue in the world today, the Pacific region was one of the regions where it was most pronounced.

“In the words of one of our Pacific leaders, ‘it is climate crisis for us in the
Pacific.” He pointed out that while New Zealand wished to learn from the world, it also hoped to contribute its experience, especially in indigenous health promotion.

“For centuries we have explored and applied the knowledge of the west, and east. It is timely with where we are now as a world community, to learn also from indigenous knowledge systems.”

IUHPE President and co-chair Graham Robertson said the conference programme provided a platform for the IUHPE’s Global Working Groups and members to showcase their work, as it does for guest speakers and many other contributors.

“It also allows the IUHPE to hear of latest developments and ideas that can inform future plans and advocacy work,” he said.

The conference will continue until Thursday, April 11.
For further information please contact:
Lavinia Ngatoko
Communications Advisor
Health Promotion Forum of NZ (021) 8964343