Transformative health promotion actions are needed to achieve health equity and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), advance human and planetary wellbeing, and ensure that we build back better post-COVID-19. Health policies and systems need to be aligned with the values, principles and strategies of health promotion and investment made in strengthening essential health promotion functions. This paper considers how transformative health promotion can be advanced, by reflecting critically on what progress needs to be made and the structures and processes that are required to strengthen health promotion at a systems level. Progress in implementing health promotion is variable, and there is a general lack of investment in developing the necessary health promotion systems for substantive progress to be made. Key enablers and system requirements for comprehensive health promotion are examined, including the following critical elements: (i) effective advocacy for the concept and practice of health promotion; (ii) enabling policy structures for universal health promotion actions on a cross-sectoral basis; (iii) effective implementation systems, support mechanisms and workforce capacity for multisectoral health promotion action; (iv) investment in innovative research methods and knowledge translation to inform transformative health promotion approaches. In strengthening capacity to implement transformative health promotion actions, political will needs to be mobilized to ensure that dedicated and sustainable funding is made available, and the organizational and workforce capacity to deliver effective health promotion interventions is in place. The International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) plays a central role in advancing transformative health promotion through mobilising and supporting its global members and partners in strengthening health promotion systems.