New path for health and human rights opens in Andorra
On 3 July 2017, Andorra inaugurated a 30-kilometre walking trail that spans the length of the country. It runs from close to Ordino on the northern border to Sant Julià de Lòria in the south. The path takes travellers through Andorra’s spectacular mountain scenery, along a route historically used by migrants crossing the country.
Every kilometre along the path is marked by a sign representing one of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with more information available through a downloadable app.
Officially opening the path, Minister of Health of Andorra Mr Carles Alvarez Marfany described the thinking behind it: “In this way we combine healthy habits and the promotion of human rights, and we do it in a way that joins the modern Andorra with the Andorra that has remained faithful to its values and identity over the centuries.”
Prime Minister of Andorra Mr Antoni Martí as well as ministers and mayors also attended the opening event.
The main aim of the path is to promote physical activity in an innovative and inclusive way, creating an educational tool that promotes the identity, culture and natural heritage of Andorra. It also informs walkers on the broader context of human rights and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
“The human right to health is not only about health care and access to health services when needed. The right to health is also about access to a healthy environment and healthy living spaces, access to healthy food, consumer information, and support to make the healthy choice easy and accessible,” commented Dr Tamás Evetovits, Head of the WHO Barcelona Office for Health Systems Strengthening. Dr Evetovits spoke on behalf of Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, at the opening ceremony.
Promoting physical activity following WHO policy
Last year, European Member States endorsed the Physical activity strategy for the WHO European Region 2016–2025, the first of its kind globally. More than one third of adults in the Region are insufficiently active. In response, the strategy seeks to encourage governments to work across sectors, levels and countries as well as with stakeholders to enable all citizens to enjoy better and longer lives by incorporating regular physical activity.
The trail is a joint initiative of the Government of Andorra and local public administrations (Comuns), with participation from the private sector as well as civil society.
“WHO congratulates Andorra for its commitment to improving health and well-being through a multisectoral, whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach, and fully supports the Healthy Way of Human Rights initiative,” concluded Dr Evetovits.
The Minister also presented the concept behind the path at the recent 4th High-level Meeting of Small Countries, held in Malta at the end of June. It was warmly received by delegates from the other 7 small countries participating.
It is hoped that the new trail will provide inspiration to other countries to create similar resources to share their natural environments with citizens and visitors, while promoting social cohesion and human rights.