Riga becomes a WHO European healthy city

Riga City Council

Mayor Nils Usakovs signing Riga’s certificate of membership in the WHO European Healthy Cities Network

On 6 June 2014, Riga, the capital and largest city of Latvia, joined the WHO European Healthy Cities Network. The WHO Country Office, Latvia delivered the membership certificate on behalf of WHO Regional Director for Europe Zsuzsanna Jakab during a conference on the city’s achievements in promoting healthy lifestyles. Riga is the largest city in the Baltic region, and has about 700 000 inhabitants: almost half of Latvia’s population.

In recent years, Riga has made great efforts to meet the criteria of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and thereby improve health and well-being for all. The City Council created a health board to bring all sectors together and to improve their engagement at the city level. Riga also established a public health strategy for 2012–2021, which takes an intersectoral approach.  

An example of an intersectoral initiative in Riga, the network of health promoting schools, created with technical support from WHO/Europe, links the health and education sectors:

  • to promote health and well-being, as well as social justice and equity, among students;
  • to provide safe and supportive environments for young people; and
  • to improve students’ participation and empowerment in local decision-making.

Riga is the second Latvian city to join the WHO European Healthy Cities Network. The first, Jurmala, is renewing its designation as a member.