International guiding principles

Integrating health promotion and health financing development into a country’s health and financing strategies are in line with the following international guiding principles:

  • 1986 Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion

The 1986 Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion defined health as a person’s overall sense of physical, emotional and social well-being. Health promotion is implemented in various settings based on the framework that was established in the charter. 

“Health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve their health. It moves beyond a focus on individual behaviour towards a wide range of social and environmental intervention. It is not merely the delivery of health education messages but encompasses the building and prioritization of healthy public policies, creating supportive environment, strengthening community action, developing personal skills and reorienting health services”.

  • WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) 

During the 56th World Health Assembly on 21 May 2003, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control unanimously adopted as the world’s first international public health treaty negotiated under the auspices of the WHO, and came into force on 27 February 2005. At present, 181 governments, representing 90% of the world’s population, are Parties to the WHO FCTC and have committed to implementing the treaty’s various lifesaving measures.

Many countries have developed fiscal mechanisms to help finance the health sector and health promotion programmes to accelerate the implementation of WHO FCTC measures. This fiscal policy is also aligned with:

  1. Article 6 of the WHO FCTC, “Price and tax measures to reduce demand for tobacco”, and its guidelines for implementation, which recommend that countries dedicate revenue to fund tobacco control and other health promotion activities.
  2. Article 26 of the WHO FCTC, “Financial resources” requires all Parties to secure and provide financial support for the implementation of various tobacco control programmes and activities to meet the objectives of the Convention. 
  • Resolution WHA58.33: Sustainable health financing, universal coverage and social health insurance 

In May 2005, the World Health Assembly endorsed Resolution WHA58.33, recognizing the important role of state legislative and executive bodies in further reform of health-financing systems with a view to achieving universal coverage, Member States are urged 

(3) to ensure that external funds for specific health programmes or activities are managed and organized in a way that contributes to the development of sustainable financing mechanisms for the health system as a whole.

(4) to plan the transition to universal coverage of their citizens so as to contribute to meeting the needs of the population for health care and improving its quality, to reducing poverty, to attaining internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, and to achieving health for all.

  • UN Declarations

In September 2011, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly held a high-level meeting to strengthen global, regional, and national efforts in the prevention and control of NCDs. 

(i) Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of NCDs, New York City, September 2011

  1. (d) Explore the provision of adequate, predictable and sustained resources, through domestic, bilateral, regional and multilateral channels, including traditional and voluntary innovative financing mechanisms.
  2. Promote all possible means to identify and mobilize adequate, predictable and sustained financial resources and the necessary human and technical resources, and to consider support for voluntary, cost-effective, innovative approaches for a long term financing of non-communicable disease prevention and control, taking into account the Millennium Development Goals.

(ii) Declaration of the United Nations 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 2015

“Recognizes that price and tax measures on tobacco can be an effective and important means to reduce tobacco consumption and health-care costs, and represent a revenue stream for financing for development in many countries”.

  • 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Adopted in September 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals outlined 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets,= which serve as an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. The SDGs determined by the United Nations also acknowledge the primacy of health promotion in the implementation of health programmes as specified in its third goal. 

Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages 

3.4 By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well- being 

3.8 Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all 

3.a Strengthen the implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries, as appropriate 

3.c Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries, especially in least developed countries and small island developing States 


Declaration of Alma-Ata. International Conference on Primary Health Care, Alma-Ata, USSR, 6-12 September 1978. Available at:

World Health Organization. (1986). The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. Geneva, WHO; 21 November 1986. Available at:

World Health Organization (2003). WHO Framework Convention On Tobacco Control. Geneva, World Health Organization.

World Health Organization. (2013). WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: guidelines for implementation Article 5.3; Article 8; Articles 9 and 10; Article 11; Article 12; Article 13; Article 14. Geneva: World Health Organization.

World Health Organization. (‎2005)‎. Resolutions and Decisions, Annex – Document WHA58/2005/REC/1. Fifty-Eighth World Health Assembly, Geneva, 16-25 May 2005.

United Nations. (2015). Resolution on Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the 7th session of the General Assembly on 25 September 2015.

United Nations. (2015). Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (Addis Ababa Action Agenda), The final text of the outcome document adopted at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 13–16 July 2015) and endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 69/313 of 27 July 2015. 

United Nations. (2012). Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases, Resolution adopted by the General Assembly, 3rd plenary meeting 19 September 2011, Sixty-sixth session.

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