Jurmala leads Healthy City movement in Latvia
The Latvian coastal city of Jurmala has joined phase VI of the European Healthy Cities Network, which covers the period 2014 – 2018 and focuses on innovation, leadership and shared governance for health and well-being. Jurmala became a member of the Network in 2005 and has since became a forerunner of the European Healthy Cities ideology and practice, not only in Latvia but also in the Baltic countries.
Among other achievements, Jurmala is the only municipality in Latvia that organizes free physical activity classes for teenagers, young mothers and seniors, and the city’s centre and beach are fully accessible for wheelchairs.
The Head of the WHO Country Office in Latvia, Dr Aiga Rurane, handed over a Healthy Cities redesignation certificate on 25 September 2014 during a ceremony attended by city politicians, administrators, public health workers, representatives of the Ministry of Health, Latvian Healthy Cities Network, WHO Collaborating Centre for Healthy Cities and Urban Health in the Baltic Region and citizens of Jurmala.
Local governments linked in a global movement
The WHO Healthy Cities global project engages local governments in health development through a process of political commitment, institutional change, capacity-building, partnership-based planning and innovative projects.
About 90 cities are members of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network, and 30 national healthy cities networks across the WHO European Region have more than 1400 cities and towns as members.
The primary goal of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network is to put health high on the social, economic and political agenda of city governments. Health is the business of all sectors, and local governments are in a unique leadership position, with power to protect and promote their citizens’ health and well-being.