Call for papers, issue 3, June 2019 – Deadline for submission: 18-03-2019

Public Health Panorama calls for the submission of papers for a special issue on Phase VII of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network, with the theme: the road towards the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Authors may submit papers in either Russian or English on scientific research or practice-oriented case studies.

In 2018, the WHO European Healthy Cites Network is celebrating its 30th anniversary: 30 years of cities and WHO working in partnership to implement international and regional strategies and agendas, such as Health for All and Health 2020, the health policy framework for the WHO European Region. This issue will address the importance of cities and local actors in efforts to improve public health and reduce health inequalities, and the role played by cities as partners of WHO in the implementation of global agendas such as the 2030 Agenda.

Copenhagen Consensus of Mayors: Healthier and Happier Cities for All

The WHO European Healthy Cities Network is guided by the political vision embodied in the Copenhagen Consensus of Mayors: Healthier and Happier Cities for All, which was adopted at the WHO European Healthy Cities Network Summit of Mayors, held at UN City in Copenhagen, Denmark, in February 2018, and which marks a transformative approach towards building safe, inclusive, sustainable and resilient societies. The vision embodied in the Copenhagen Consensus of Mayors is fully aligned with the 2030 Agenda and WHO’s Thirteenth General Programme of Work 2019–2023 and serves to guide the work of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network until the year 2030.

The Copenhagen Consensus of Mayors states that:

  • Healthy Cities foster health and well-being through governance, empowerment and participation, creating urban places for equity and community prosperity, and investing in people for a peaceful planet;
  • Healthy Cities lead by example, tackling inequalities and promoting governance and leadership for health and well-being through innovation, knowledge sharing and city diplomacy for health and well-being (the engagement of cities in external relations to coordinate and orchestrate policy solutions to improve health and its determinants at city level);
  • Healthy Cities act as leaders and partners in tackling our common global public health challenges, including noncommunicable diseases, communicable diseases, environmental challenges, health inequalities, antimicrobial resistance, health emergencies and the pursuit of universal health coverage.

The six themes of the Copenhagen Consensus of Mayors are as follows:

  • Investing in the people who make up our cities.
  • Designing urban places that improve health and well-being.
  • Greater participation and partnerships for health and well-being.
  • Improving community prosperity and access to common goods and services.
  • Promoting peace and security through inclusive societies.
  • Protecting the planet from degradation, leading by example, including through sustainable consumption and production.

The six themes are not discrete areas of action but are interdependent and mutually supportive. Cities achieve greater health impacts when they link up policies, investment and services and focus on leaving no one behind. Addressing these priorities requires combining governance approaches that aim to ensure healthy lives and well-being for everyone. Such governance anticipates change, fosters innovation and is oriented towards investing in promoting health and preventing disease.

The six themes of the Copenhagen Consensus of Mayors and relevant topics are developed below:

Theme 1: Investing in the people who make up our cities

A healthy city leads by example by emphasizing a human focus in societal development and by prioritizing investment in people to improve equity and inclusion through enhanced empowerment.

Suggested topics: investment in human capital, people-focused health and social services, empowered communities and societies, increased community ownership of health and well-being.

Theme 2: Designing urban places that improve health and well-being

A healthy city leads by example, with the social, physical and cultural environments aligned to create a place that is actively inclusive, and facilitates the pursuit of health and well-being for all.

Suggested topics: healthy urban planning and design, innovative uses of community spaces to promote healthier and happier communities.

Theme 3: Greater participation and partnerships for health and well-being

A healthy city leads by example by ensuring the participation of all individuals and communities in the decisions that affect them and the places they live, work, love and play.

Suggested topics: participatory governance of common goods and services, participatory decision-making, whole-of-society approaches to health and well-being at the city level, inclusive processes in municipal decision-making.

Theme 4: Improved community prosperity and access to common goods and services

A healthy city leads by example by striving for enhanced community prosperity and strengthened assets through values-based governance of common goods and services.

Suggested topics: progressive city-level indicators for societal success, governance for common goods and services at the local level, investment in community assets, asset-building approach to city-level policy-making.

Theme 5: Promoting peace and security through inclusive societies

A healthy city leads by example by promoting peace through inclusive societies that focus on places, participation, prosperity and the planet, while putting people at the centre of all policies and actions.

Suggested topics: building social cohesion, societal trust, social capital and community resilience.

Theme 6: Protect the planet from degradation, leading by example, including through sustainable consumption and production

A healthy city leads by ensuring that the protection of the planet is at the heart of all city policies, both internal and external.

Suggested topics: divestment from health-harming industries and practices, ethical city and local investment policies, leading by example through green initiatives.

The role of cities in governance for health and well-being

Cities have a key role to play in governance for health and well-being. Most local governments in the European Region have a general duty to promote the well-being of their citizens and provide equal or similar access to municipal resources and opportunities. Cities can achieve this through their influence in several domains such as health, social services, environment, education, economy, housing, security, transport and sport. Intersectoral partnerships and community empowerment initiatives can be more easily implemented at the local level with the active support of local governments. Cooperation through national networks of Healthy Cities allows cities to form partnerships with national-level ministries and actors to facilitate, support and enable local action through building vertical coherence across the different levels of government.

In this context, this special issue invites papers that highlight the unique role of cities in governance for health and well-being.

The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The 2030 Agenda was adopted by all 193 Member States of the United Nations at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015 in New York. The 2030 Agenda calls for bold transformative action and ensuring that no one is left behind. The ambitious agenda consists of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are mutually reinforcing and indivisible. The 2030 Agenda provides, for the first time, a unified global plan for sustainable development, applicable to developing and developed countries alike. The city and urban dimension is explicitly recognized in Goal 11; however, all the remaining 16 goals are relevant to life in cities, and the work of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network is fully aligned with all the goals.

The 2030 Agenda is also fully aligned with Health 2020. Health 2020 builds on the legacy and experience of the European Region with the values and principles of Health for All, the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, the Tallinn Charter: Health Systems for Health and Wealth, Health21 and declarations adopted at ministerial conferences on environment and health. Health 2020 recognizes the importance of action at the local level and the central role local governments can play in promoting health and well-being.

Cities are uniquely placed to provide leadership for health and well-being. In the complexity of multiple tiers of government, numerous sectors and both public and private stakeholders, local governments have the capacity to influence the determinants of health and inequities.

The SDGs provide a framework for action that calls for transformative governance in order to create a sustainable future. Cities, municipalities and local governments have an important role to play and provide a platform for the implementation of national SDG implementation plans at the local level, and it is in this context that papers are invited.

Guidelines for submitting papers

We invite papers that provide examples of good practices of cities and municipalities in contributing to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Priority will be given to papers that demonstrate outcome-oriented approaches, successful practices, innovative solutions and lessons learned from experience.

Papers must explicitly consider the role of cities, municipalities, and local governments in addressing public health challenges and sustainable development priorities in the context of the SDGs and the six themes of the Copenhagen Consensus of Mayors.

Papers should refer to one or more of the following components:

  • processes, tools and mechanisms involved in governance for health and well-being at the city, municipal, or local government level;
  • city diplomacy for health and well-being;
  • sustainability of processes, tools and instruments;
  • monitoring and evaluation of governance processes or mechanisms at the city, municipal or local level;
  • mechanisms through which cities are actors in the broader governance mechanisms for health and well-being (building coherence across different levels of government);
  • municipalities leading by example, nationally and internationally;
  • accountability frameworks or mechanisms for municipal administrations.

We welcome papers that document experiences from low-resource and transitional economy settings. The deadline for submissions is 18 March 2019. Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with the guidelines for authors and contributors and mention this call for papers in a cover letter. All submissions should be sent to eupanorama@who.int and consist of the manuscript, duly filled in, and a signed cover letter and licence agreement.

For further queries, please contact eupanorama@who.int.