Network updates


Making the case for sustainable investment for equity in health and well-being: skills-building seminar at the 12th European Public Health Conference

Urgent action is needed to address the increasing health, economic and environmental challenges that threaten the well-being of present and future generations. There is substantial evidence to demonstrate the multiple benefits that can be derived through investment in fair, evidence-based, cross-sector public policies and interventions towards social, economic and environmental sustainability.Continue reading

Academic institutions and regional governments: two worlds apart?

Partnerships between regional governments and academic institutions are central to resolving public health issues, which are often complex and require the insight of both partners. To discuss the relationships between academia and practice, the WHO Regions for Health Network, Østfold University College, Norway, and the Norwegian University for Life Sciences, Ås, Norway, organized a roundtable discussion entitled “Academic institutions and regional governments: two worlds apart?” at the 12th European Public Health Conference (Marseille, France, 20–23 November 2019). The focus of the discussion was   on examining both the advantages and the shortcomings of these relationships.Continue reading


IMPACThorama: a transformative framework for healthy regions and healthy and prosperous lives for all

During its 25th annual meeting (Meuse-Rhine Euroregion, 26–28 June 2019), the WHO Regions for Health Network (RHN) launched the IMPACThorama framework, which seeks to align RHN’s work with WHO’s “triple billion” targets, specifically that relating to ensuring that by 2023 1 billion more people will be enjoying better health and well-being. IMPACThorama takes the form of a temple with 6 pillars depicting processes to Inspire, Mobilize, Practise, Accelerate, Connect and Transform and achieve an IMPACT – healthier populations and healthy settings – through the promotion of Health-in-all-Policies (HiAP). Continue reading

RHN annual meeting focuses on keeping people at the heart of policy on health and sustainable development

The 25th annual meeting of the WHO Regions for Health Network (RHN), which took place in the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion (EMR) on 26–28 June 2019, offered a high-level platform for sharing best practice in addressing this topic in the WHO European Region. The event brought together almost 200 participants from 28 countries. Continue reading

Participatory approaches to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals: small countries’ voices have big impact

“Analyze, align, accelerate and advance” – 4 “As”, representing the key steps that countries need to take towards implementing the United Nations 2030 Agenda and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Bettina Menne, Coordinator, Health and Development (SDG), WHO Regional Office for Europe, stressed the importance of these steps during the 6th high-level meeting of the small countries held in San Marino on 31 March – 2 April 2019. Continue reading


RHN workshop on environment and health (air pollution and active mobility) at the 11th European Public Health Conference

Air pollution is the biggest environmental risk to health, responsible each year for 7 million premature deaths globally and nearly 600 000 in the WHO European Region. The workshop, “Better air for better health: a deep dive into air pollution in Europe and ways to tackle it”, jointly organized by the WHO Regions for Health Network (RHN), the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health, and the WHO Regional Office for Europe, provided an overview of WHO policies and tools pertinent to this area, and examples of best practice in assessing and improving environmental health conditions at the local and regional levels across the WHO European Region. Continue reading

Launch of new RHN publication on cross-border collaboration in health in Lower Austria

On 26 November 2018, in St. Pölten (Lower Austria region), the Regions for Health Network (RHN) launched a new publication entitled The Healthacross Initiative: how Lower Austria is boosting cross-border collaboration in health. Access to quality and affordable preventive and treatment services is an important determinant of health and well-being. For those living and working in border areas, the nearest essential health services may be located in a neighbouring country. Continue reading

RHN study visit to Seville. Why Andalusia?

Opportunity; entry point; people: these are the three keywords related to a study visit to Seville, Andalusia (Spain), on 12–14 November 2018, organized by the Regions for Health Network (RHN). The aim of the visit, in which 42 representatives of 13 regions took part, was to become familiar with the innovative Fourth Andalusian Health Plan, which is based on the Health-in-All Policies principle. Continue reading

Spring school on the whole-of-society approach and role of primary health care in population health, prevention, and intersectoral action for equity in health and well-being

The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Slovenia, the National Institute of Public Health in Slovenia, and the Centre for Health and Development Murska Sobota, in partnership with the WHO Regional Office for Europe,,organized the Spring School in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 23–25 April 2018. The School was open to international participants. Continue reading

RHN workshop on gender health, women’s health strategy and men’s health strategy, Lugano (Ticino Region), Switzerland, 17–18 April 2018

A growing body of evidence supports the use of gender-responsive approaches to promoting the health and well-being of women and men, and boys and girls. Since gender-related norms and roles have a strong influence on risk factors for disease, policy-makers need to consider their relationship with the socioeconomic, cultural and environmental determinants of health across the life-course. The gender-equality agenda demands policy and action that engage men and women in transforming their roles and norms to achieve better health for all. Continue reading


The Friuli Venezia Giulia Region’s ADESSO project on healthy ageing – 10 000 steps in 136 municipalities

At an event held on 12 December 2017 at the Palazzo Auditorium in Udine, Italy, the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region presented the second phase of the Region’s ADESSO project on healthy ageing, namely health and safety. The aim of this phase of the project is to identify one or more paths in each municipality, which can be used by people over the age of 50 to meet the WHO recommendations of 10 000 steps a day to combat hypertension, diabetes, obesity, stress and depression. By 2016, the Project had included 136 municipalities of the Region, involving multilevel governance.

European Regional and Local Health Authorities (EUREGHA) Annual Conference 2017: exploring regional cross-border cooperation in health: current practices and future outlooks – Regions for Health (RHN) experience and good practice

The Conference, which took place on 6 December at the Welsh Government European Office, Brussels, Belgium, covered many important aspects of, and good practice in, cross-border cooperation on health. Kerstin Kittenberger and Judith Kramer (Lower Austria Region, Austria) presented the Lower Austria cross-border health-care cooperation project, “Healthacross”, that promotes increased accessibility to health care, treatment and emergency care in border regions. Elisabeth Bengtsson (Region Västra Götaland, Sweden) presented the goals of RHN, emphasizing the importance of building cooperation among regions in EU in the field of health.

RHN workshop “Transformative health promotion: why gender stereotypes and culture matter” at the 10th European Public Health Conference, Stockholm, Sweden, 1-4 November 2017

During this RHN workshop, organized in the context of the “Strategy for women’s health and well-being in the WHO European Region”, and chaired by Piroska Ostlin, Director of the Division of Policy and Governance for Health and Well-being, WHO Regional Office for Europe, promising practice and initiatives at the subnational and small-countries levels were presented, including Andalusia, Spain, Canton Ticino, Switzerland, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy, San Marino, and Västra Götaland, Sweden.

RHN workshop “The sustainability agenda: action required to maximize impact across countries and regions” at the 10th European Public Health Conference, Stockholm, Sweden, 1-4 November 2017

Organized by WHO and chaired by Piroska Ostlin, Director of the Division of Policy and Governance for Health and Well-being, WHO Regional Office for Europe, the event brought together WHO experts and RHN members to demonstrate the links between global, European, national and subnational contexts and policy agendas for sustainable development and health. The latest RHN publication, “Sustainable development in Wales and other regions in Europe – achieving health and equity for present and future generations”, was released during the workshop.

RHN Workshop “Urban environments: action for health and equity”, at the 10th European Public Health Conference, Stockholm, Sweden, 1-4 November 2017

Developed jointly by the Healthy Cities Network and RHN, this workshop presented the main challenges to local action for resilient and healthy communities, providing an overview of the most relevant environment and health issues to be tackled by European cities and regions. The workshop included a presentation by a representative of the Wales region, United Kingdom, and roundtable discussions involving representatives of the Centre for Health and Development in Murska Sobota, Slovenia, the Healthy Cities Scientific Committee, the Flanders Institute for Technological Development, Belgium, Region Västra Götaland, Sweden, and the Technical University of Istanbul, Turkey.

Presentation of the Emilia-Romagna Region’s Social and Health Plan 2017-2019

At an event held in Reggio Emilia, Italy, on 9 October 2017 the Emilia-Romagna Region presented its Social and Health Plan for 2017–2019. The Plan is the result of a huge participatory process, involving more than 500 stakeholders, including representatives of health and social institutions, the third sector, trade unions, associations and citizens.