Health and well-being depend on action at city level

The city of Pécs is hosting the 2017 WHO European Healthy Cities Network Annual Business and Technical Conference, which opens today. This year’s theme is “Building Healthy Cities: inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.

The Conference comes at an important moment for the WHO European Region, as well as the Healthy Cities Network and movement. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals have given a new political stimulus to working towards sustainable development, reducing inequalities and leaving nobody behind – all of which need leadership from cities.

“Cities are both key vehicles for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and agents for achieving a future that is sustainable, inclusive, safe and resilient,” said Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “We cannot achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda or Health 2020, and improve the health and well-being of all, without engaging at the city level.”

Next year the Network will celebrate 30 years of leading, innovating, challenging and ultimately creating flourishing and healthy cities throughout the Region. The Conference – taking place in one of the Network’s founding cities – will provide a forum to discuss the challenges of today, the challenges of tomorrow, and the role of cities in addressing them.

“Health is a crucial issue for all sectors, and local governments have a great responsibility to protect and promote the health and well-being of their citizens,” said Mr Zsolt Páva, Mayor of Pécs. “I hope this conference can give a new impetus to the participants and that it encourages politicians to become more active actors on behalf of our common efforts.”

Specific themes under discussion include accessible transport, healthy environments, migrants and refugees, healthy ageing, gender and early life.

Delegations of mayors and politicians will also explore and debate the political vision and criteria for the future of the Network, and further develop the building blocks of healthy cities for the next phase, 2018–2022. These discussions will contribute to a declaration to be agreed upon at the end of the Conference.

A mayors’ summit is also being organized in Copenhagen, Denmark, in November 2017.

Follow the discussions by webcast and on social media

Plenary sessions will be webcast. Follow the proceedings and contribute to discussions on Twitter using #pecs2017 and #healthycities.

WHO European Healthy Cities Network

The WHO European Healthy Cities Network consists of almost 100 cities. In addition, 20 accredited National Healthy Cities Networks in Europe have more than 1400 cities and municipalities as members. It is a political and strategic vehicle for promoting whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches within the Region, with equity and good governance integrated throughout. The Network brings together many different sectors, such as housing, education, transport, energy, land use planning, urban agriculture and waste management, all of which have a significant impact on health. It supports peer learning, the sharing of good practices and the development of tools to support healthy and equitable sustainable development.