wellbeing

EuroHealthNet Annual Seminar: Growing strong in times of crisis

EuroHealthNet Annual Seminar: Growing strong in times of crisis

Investing in wellbeing and health equity for young and old

Our societies are currently at a crossroads. Demographic change, growing inequalities, the climate crisis, COVID-19, and the impacts of the war in Ukraine are all having a negative impact on the health and well-being of our societies. These challenges are straining public resources and the social fabric of our communities. How can we overcome these issues and grow stronger in times of crisis?  

We must prioritise health equity and wellbeing among children, youth, families and older people to ensure they have the essential conditions and resources to thrive, setting them up for lifelong health and wellbeing. Alternative economic and care models, such as the Economy of Wellbeing – as well as socially-conscious public and private investments offer the potential to grow stronger and more sustainably out of the current crises.

This in-person seminar will gather experts and policy makers to explore the necessary conditions in which all members of society, including young and older people, feel like capable and valued members of their immediate and wider communities. New and innovative approaches and investments will be presented, in the context of current European policy developments, and with a critical focus on their impacts on health equity. Discussions will be centred around the following themes:

  • Securing conditions for health equity and wellbeing in childhood and adolescence in times of uncertainty    
  • Prioritising public investments for healthy and active ageing in the wake of multiple crises
  • Exploring how we can turn our current uncertainties into opportunities for strength, through concepts like the Economy of Wellbeing

Date: 31 May 2022

Time: 13:30-17:30 CET

Venue: In person meeting at the Royal Academy of Science, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium

More information

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UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education and JOGG: joining forces for a Lifestyle Transition

UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education and JOGG: joining forces for a Lifestyle Transition

Press release – The UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education and JOGG are combining forces to put a Lifestyle Transition on the agenda of national and international policymakers. A Lifestyle Transition for and together with today’s young people. A healthy future demands cross-domain cooperation focused on creating a healthy environment and a healthy lifestyle. Something which does not end at national borders.

Unhealthy environment

A healthy future begins with a healthy younger generation. Among children and young people who grow up in a healthy environment. But at the moment that environment is far from healthy. Everywhere children go they are constantly being bombarded with messages to eat both unhealthy food and too much of it, while they enjoy less and less physical exercise. On top of which the differences in health between those from poorer backgrounds and those who are better off, are only growing. The result has been a huge increase in diseases of affluence, including among children. Together with all the adverse effects that this has, both for the individual and for society.

Joined action for a Lifestyle Transition

“The present lifestyle crisis demands action. Action to narrow the health gap and improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people,” says JOGG director, Marjon Bachra. “We need to move towards a society where being able to have a healthy lifestyle is the norm. But we can only achieve that by taking a holistic approach. One which embraces all domains and sectors. Something on which both JOGG and the UNESCO Global Health & Education Chair agree. It is high time for a Lifestyle Transition.”

From today JOGG and the UNESCO Chair will support one another on the road to creating a healthier society, both nationally and internationally. The active involvement of children and young people themselves plays an important part in this. For example, the JOGG Youth Health Community is supporting the UNESCO Chair with an international project aimed at actively involving young people in creating a world which is healthy and pleasant to live in. Not just because participation is their fundamental right, but because it is also vital if the interventions to improve health are to be effective.

About JOGG – Healthy Youngsters with a Healthy Future

JOGG is a driver of the Lifestyle Transition in the Netherlands. The organisation has developed and facilitates a worknet which connects more than 200 Dutch municipalities and roughly a hundred other partners in society, fundamental and applied research and the business community. It is described as a ‘worknet’ because all the parties are working to achieve this. Based on the integrated JOGG approach, together they are working to create a healthier environment for the young, in policy and in practice. An environment in which it is easy to eat healthy food, get sufficient exercise and relax.

About the UNESCO Chair for Global Health & Education

The UNESCO Chair for Global Health & Education is a UNESCO Chair associated with the Clermont Auvergne University in France, with Professor Didier Jourdan as chairholder and Goof Buijs as manager. The UNESCO Chair works globally to strengthen health promotion and disease prevention, targeted mainly towards young people and aimed at lifelong learning. The emphasis is on creating the right conditions whereby children and young people can take more control of their own lives, as individuals, as members of their community and as world citizens.

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UNICEF report: Preventing a lost decade

UNICEF report: Preventing a lost decade

Two years into the pandemic, the widespread effects of COVID-19 continue to worsen, increasing poverty and deepening inequalities. While some countries are recovering and rebuilding a ‘new normal’, for many, COVID-19 remains a crisis. The human rights of children around the world have not been so threatened for more than a generation.

The global response so far has been very uneven and inadequate. The world now stands at a crossroads. The actions taken today will determine the well-being and rights of children for years to come.

As UNICEF celebrates its 75th anniversary, the report “Preventing a lost decade. Urgent action to reverse the devastating impact of COVID-19 on children and young people” takes stock of the effects of the ongoing impact of  COVID-19 on children and outlines the road to respond and recover to reimagine the future for every child.

For more information and to download the report (available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic)

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Concise Guides to the Sustainable Development Goals – SDG 3 Good Health and Wellbeing

Concise Guides to the Sustainable Development Goals – SDG 3 Good Health and Wellbeing

The Concise Guides to the UN Sustainable Development Goals series consists of 17 short books, each examining one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The series provides an integrated assessment of the SDGs from an economic, legal, social, environmental and cultural perspective.

The guide on health and well-being[i] addresses the various contemporary issues related to the implementation of SDG3 and provides a concrete analysis of the challenges. Written by global experts in the field, the book mobilises the concepts of health, well-being and sustainable development and puts them into perspective through essays and case studies in a variety of contexts. It provides a landscape of research, developments, innovative interventions and long-term visions for SDG3.

Chapter 7[ii]  is specifically dedicated to the Health Promoting Schools approach and the implementation of health promoting learning environments in different regions of the world. It recalls the importance of developing valid and effective frameworks for school-based interventions, anchored in an intersectoral perspective, and the role played in this respect by the UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education.


[i] [i]  Savelyeva, T., Lee, S. W., & Banack, H. (Éds.). (2019). SDG3 – Good Health and Wellbeing : Re-Calibrating the SDG Agenda: Concise Guides to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Emerald Publishing Limited. https://doi.org/10.1108/9781789737097

[ii] Lee, A.Young, I.St Leger, L.Jourdan, D. and Kolbe, L. (2019), “Implementing a Healthy Environment for Teaching and Learning Through Health–School Partnership”, Savelyeva, T.Lee, S.W. and Banack, H. (Ed.) SDG3 – Good Health and Wellbeing: Re-Calibrating the SDG Agenda: Concise Guides to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 125-149. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78973-709-720191011

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5th UNESCO Forum on Transformative Education for Sustainable Development, Global Citizenship, Health and Well-being

5th UNESCO Forum on Transformative Education for Sustainable Development, Global Citizenship, Health and Well-being

From 29 November to 1 December, UNESCO brought together experts in education for sustainable development, global citizenship and, health and well-being to discuss good practices, progress, monitoring and mainstreaming of transformative education towards target 4.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Transformative education involves the teaching and learning oriented to motivate and empower learners to take informed decisions and actions at the individual, community and global levels. It emphasises the complementarity and synergy between various educational programmes and approaches that have contributed to improving the quality and relevance of education and learning. It calls for an integrated approach to target 4.7 of the SDGs, to pave the way for innovation in education today.

Didier Jourdan gave a keynote lecture on: “Creating safe, inclusive and healthy learning environments”.

More information

Recordings of the live stream of the Forum

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New Strategic Development Plan EuroHealthNet

New Strategic Development Plan EuroHealthNet

EuroHealthNet has launched its new Strategic Development Plan, which sets out the principles and priorities which will guide their work over the next five years.

EuroHealthNet members (over 60 organisations, institutes, and authorities working on public health, disease prevention, promoting health and wellbeing, and reducing inequalities) have assessed how the Partnership should move forward. New skills, capacities, and competences will be needed and are crucial. The new Strategic Development Plan, describes how the Partnership can continue working together to achieve real and lasting change to improve health and reduce health inequalities in Europe.

EuroHealthNet will focus on: 

  • The application of the equity lens across health and other policies and measures; supporting the ‘economy of wellbeing’, as well as a ‘whole of society’ approach.
  • Novel ways to promote health and prevent diseases. Making solutions attractive and sustainable, whilst contributing to the transformation of health and social protection systems.  
  • The social, economic, environmental, cultural, commercial, behavioural, and political determinants of health, which allows us to be agile and responsive to the diverse threats to health equity. 

They have defined five priority areas:

  • Health equity.
  • Non-communicable diseases.
  • The climate crisis.
  • Prevention and promotion.
  • Life course.

And two cross-cutting themes:

  • Mental health
  • Digital inclusion

More information

Read the Strategic Development Plan

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Lifelong learning for health as a key to building sustainable, equitable, inclusive and resilient cities

Lifelong learning for health as a key to building sustainable, equitable, inclusive and resilient cities

From emergency to resilience: Building healthy and resilient cities through learning – 5th UNESCO International Conference on Learning Cities

The South Korean city of Yeonsu, a member of UNESCO’s Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC), hosted the Fifth International Conference on Learning Cities from 27 to 30 October 2021. The event brought together education experts and representatives from the 229 members of UNESCO’s GNLC to discuss the conference theme “From emergency to resilience: Building healthy and resilient cities through learning”. The aim was to discuss how cities can promote health education and contribute to emergency responses, such as those implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. With more than half of humanity living in urban areas, cities play a key role in responding to health crises.

In his key-note during the plenary session on 28 October, Didier Jourdan recalled the central role of lifelong learning for health in building healthy, equitable, inclusive, sustainable and resilient cities. The health crisis has served as an eye-opener on the challenges of lifelong learning for health and well-being issues. It reminded us that we cannot make people healthy without them or against them. In addition to the issues of urban planning, transport, housing, social services and water supply, which are all crucial determinants of people’s health, cities have an equally crucial role to play in their ability to develop or host ‘learning for health and well-being’ policies and interventions.

Didier Jourdan during his presentation distinguished two inseparable dimensions for learning for health: 

  • It is a means of developing people’s capacity to take responsibility for their own health, which includes knowing how to access, understand, evaluate and apply relevant information. This set of knowledge and skills is often referred to as health literacy;
  • It is also an essential component of citizenship education. Health is not just a matter of individual behaviour and choice. Because one’s choices and actions potentially affect others in the community and the world at large, health involves both individual and collective responsibility and engagement in health-related social and environmental decisions.

The recording of Didier Jourdan’s key note (start at 3h 23 min)

The recording of the Declaration (start at 55 min 45 sec)

More information:

Didier Jourdan speaking at the plenary session on 28 October 2021
Clermont-Ferrand received the 2021 Learning City Award. Didier Jourdan with David Atchoarena, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning.
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Involve children and young people in assessing the impact of school closures on their wellbeing and developing strategies for post-COVID-19 schooling

Involve children and young people in assessing the impact of school closures on their wellbeing and developing strategies for post-COVID-19 schooling

Article published in MDPI on 5 September 2021

Nearly 200 countries have implemented school closures to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Although these closures have seemed necessary, there have been serious concerns about their effects on the well-being of children and adolescents. To truly understand the impact of these closures on children’s and adolescent’s well-being, and their suggestions for the future, it is important to adopt new approaches to collecting data that will ensure the right of children and adolescents to be heard on issues that affect them.

Current methods of assessing the impacts of school closure are dominated by the collection of information about children and adolescents, mainly using existing wellbeing indicators and related questionnaire surveys. While these sources of information are important, they provide only a limited understanding of how children and adolescents have experienced school closure, especially if they have been produced using measures developed solely by adults. There is a need for information produced by children and adolescents themselves, which may need to go beyond existing theoretical frameworks of wellbeing that predate COVID-19.

By gathering information from children and adolescents, the authors of this paper[1] show that we can more effectively guide the development and evaluation of public health policies and identify solutions to mitigate the negative impacts of school closures, or to recognise and respond to any positive effects.

Read the article

[1] Paakkari, L., Jourdan, D., Inchley, J., & Torppa, M. (2021). The Impact of School Closure on Adolescents’ Wellbeing, and Steps toward to a New Normal : The Need for an Assessment Tool Update? Adolescents1(3), 360‑362. https://doi.org/10.3390/adolescents1030027

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Survey on the UNESCO Strategy on Education for Health and Well-being

Survey on the UNESCO Strategy on Education for Health and Well-being

UNESCO is currently assessing its Strategy on Education for Health and Well-Being (2016-2021) with a view to updating it to reflect changes in the international health and development agenda, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the new UNAIDS Strategy 2022-2026.

As part of this process, UNESCO is reaching out to internal and external stakeholders – at national, regional and global levels. You are invited to contribute and share your views before 7 September 2021 via this link.

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Sexuality education in the digital space and Health & Wellbeing for young people in times of COVID-19 – UNESCO publications

Sexuality education in the digital space and Health & Wellbeing for young people in times of COVID-19 – UNESCO publications

UNESCO recently published a range of products that have been developed relating to a series of work exploring sexuality education in the digital space. Also a report was published based on a consultation on the health and wellbeing challenges facing young people in the context of school closures and other lockdown measures in the time of COVID-19.

The products related to exploring sexuality education in the digital space:

  • Switched On Symposium Report:A report from a 3-day global symposium held in February (jointly by UNESCO, UNFPA, IPPF European Network and BZgA). The symposium explored the opportunities and challenges for capitalizing on digital spaces to strengthen efforts to deliver comprehensive sexuality education to adolescents and young people.
  • A series of posters showcasing examples of digital spaces delivering sexuality educationto adolescents and young people across the world. This series of posters featured as part of the exhibition at the symposium ‘Switched On. The posters are snapshots of digital sexuality education providers who are doing just that – taking sexuality education to the digital spaces where adolescents and young people can search for and hopefully find, the information they need.
  • Sexuality Education for Young People in Digital Spaces: A review of the evidence, commissioned by UNESCO and written by the Institute of Development Studies. This desk review examines the available evidence on the extent to which digital content can influence knowledge, attitudes and practices of adolescents and young people (aged 10–24 years), and looks at the potential for digital spaces to be used to add value to the delivery of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE).
  • Support. Connection: How are young people engaging with digital spaces to learn about bodies, sex and relationships?, commissioned by UNESCO and written by Restless Development. This research aimed to further shed light on young people’s (aged 10-24) engagement with digital spaces for obtaining information and education about bodies, sex and relationships. The report presents the results of a global survey completed by almost 4,000 young people from around the world, as well as a series of focus group discussions carried out in five countries. It provides insight into how young people are using digital spaces to find answers to their questions, and their experiences in doing so.

The report Health and Wellbeing Experiences for Young People in the Times of COVID-19 is based on a consultation in May 2020 with young digital content creators and users. It is the results of a partnership between the YTH (youth tech health) initiative and UNESCO. The researchers wanted to know what challenges youth were facing, what has changed in their lives since the COVID-19 pandemic began and what has stayed the same, and what youth-facing/serving organizations like the YTH initiative could do to support them.

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