Three main conference themes

 1. Governance for health at the local level: People, citizens and assets for health

This is the central topic of the Conference. The purpose is to explore the current evidence, significance and implications of relevant and interrelated issues, such as governance for health at the local level; democracy, human rights and citizenship in the new social landscape of the WHO European Region; community assets, resilience and empowerment mechanisms; dialogue and inclusion; political and community processes; the meaning of age- and gender-sensitive perspectives; caring and healthy living in the context of global and urban drivers and trends; spatial planning for health and well-being; and volunteerism and the use of social media and networking. The Conference will provide opportunities (a) to discuss and debate key concepts and evidence and (b) to explore and share promising options and approaches from the experiences of cities around the European Region.

The event will be organized around political debates, keynote presentations, workshops based on case studies and teach-in sessions on various aspects of the central topic.

2. First consultation with local governments on the new health policy for the WHO European Region – Health 2020

The WHO Regional Office for Europe has embarked on a process of developing a new health policy for the Region. The vision of Health 2020 is for a European Region in which all people are enabled and supported in achieving their full health potential and well-being and in which WHO Member States, individually and jointly, work towards reducing inequality in health within the Region and beyond. Health is not only an important component of human well-being, it is also critical for modern societies and their economies. The policy will provide a unifying framework and advocate a systematic, whole-of government approach to addressing the public health challenges and opportunities for better health and well-being in the European Region. The policy will be underpinned by a new concept of governance for health for the 21st century. It will be drawn up through a fully participative process and is intended to reach governments at national, regional and local levels; public health and other relevant professional constituencies; civil society; and international actors. The Liège Conference will be a key event for consulting with local governments and engaging them in shaping the subsequent content of the policy and its implementation. For this purpose, plenary debates and discussions in groups structured around key issues of Health 2020 will be organized.

3. Working on the overarching and core themes of Phase V

 The Liège Conference, like the Sandnes Conference, will provide technical guidance on how to operationalize the work on health and health equity in all policies and on core themes. Integrated approaches to planning and work across sectoral borders will be especially emphasized. Case studies on the most promising practices from cities and national networks will be used to stimulate debate on practical implementation, and teach-in sessions will be organized on selected topics. A call for abstracts will be sent out in early February.

There will be two business sessions at the start and the end of the Conference. The business agenda will include joint planning and evaluation matters such as implementing plans on inequality in health, activating thematic sub-networks and providing updates on the designation of cities as members of the WHO European Network and the accreditation of national networks. Two sessions for politicians are also planned, one in plenary and one for politicians only. The programme includes coordinators’ meetings, briefings for newcomers and site visits in the second part of the afternoon on the second day of the Conference.