WHO European Healthy Cities Network adopts the Pécs Declaration

Zsolt Brém

Annual Conference of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network 2017 in Pécs, Hungary

The WHO European Healthy Cities Network Annual Conference drew to a close on Friday 3 March, with mayors and political leaders adopting the 2017 Healthy Cities Pécs Declaration. This reconfirms their commitment to creating inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable societies.

The three-day Conference saw the assembled experts and delegations discuss initiatives and share good practices on creating healthy and empowering urban environments. Their discussions covered areas such as migrants and refugees, climate change adaptation, community resilience, transport and urban planning, and health and well-being throughout the life-course. The participants were able to see first-hand some of the programmes implemented in Pécs to address these areas, making it an inclusive healthy city and a strong founder member of the Network.

The Conference also provided an opportunity to extend the Healthy Cities Network: the Hungarian city of Székesfehérvár officially joined over 70 designated cities across the WHO European Region that are already members.

The 2017 Healthy Cities Pécs Declaration

In acknowledging that improved health and well-being for all is fundamental to a sustainable future, the Pécs Declaration recognizes the need for cities to assume leadership in implementing the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This is in parallel with and complementary to maintaining other previous commitments, such as implementation of the outcomes of the high-level conference “Promoting intersectoral and interagency action for health and well-being in the WHO European Region” held in Paris in December 2016.

Gender and migrant health are also specifically highlighted, and the Declaration outlines a commitment to act as partners in the implementation of the Strategy on women’s health and well-being in the WHO European Region and the Strategy and action plan for refugee and migrant health in the WHO European Region, both adopted at the 66th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe.

Most importantly, the assembled mayors and political leaders committed to continue the work of the Healthy Cities movement, and agreed to meet again next year in the city of Belfast, United Kingdom, to establish the next phase (2018–2022), where they will also celebrate 30 successful years of the European Healthy Cities Network.