As the end of the 20th century draws near, the goal of health for all by the year 2000 will not have been achieved. Social and economic development, sporadic and biased in terms of regions, countries and social groups, has been inhibiting the achievement of health for all, just as gender, age and ethnic discrimination has been preventing access to health care and other essential goods and services. On the other hand, the intrinsic value of health and its contribution to the realization of human rights have been increasingly recognized. The need to promote the full enjoyment of all human rights as being essential to the achievement of health for all has also been increasingly acknowledged. WHO's renewed health-for-all policy seeks to realize the right to health as the most basic tenet of the WHO Constitution by creating the conditions whereby people everywhere, throughout their lives, have the opportunity to reach and maintain their own health potential. This article traces the evolution of the concept of health in development in WHO and highlights the importance of putting health at the centre of development efforts if we are to achieve health for all in the next century. It also calls attention to the need for using a health-in-development approach to work towards the progressive realization of the right to health as enshrined in the WHO Constitution and in numerous international and regional instruments. Major lines of action that WHO will be pursuing in its commitment to health in development and human rights are also outlined.