International Healthy Cities Conference in Athens, Greece
Official delegation from Izhevsk participated in the annual scientific and practical International Healthy Cities Conference that took place in Athens, Greece from 22 to 25 of October, 2014. Deputy head of the Izhevsk City Administration on social policy Ms. Irina Tesleva and Healthy Cities project coordinator in Izhevsk Ms. Elena Zimina became members of the delegation.
Participants from 56 countries, WHO representatives, health-sector experts, members of the networks, cities officials shared their good practices and experience, and celebrated 25 years of the healthy cities movement during the conference that was organized under the motto “Health and the City: Urban living in the Twenty first Century”.
The Conference offered a meeting point and platform for dialogue and learning about effective ways to deal with some of today’s most complex public health issues for urban and city leaders and practitioners as well as networks, agencies and institutions that are concerned with people, health, capacity-building, leadership, governance, equity and urban design. Special emphasis was placed on learning about the value and methods of city networks as locomotives for innovation and change.
The Conference principle objectives were:
- to demonstrate the importance of action for improving health and well-being at the local and urban levels;
- to explore the key role of local governments and the implications of local leadership and governance for health;
- to learn from the innovative and good practices of Healthy Cities and Healthy Communities initiatives across WHO Regions;
- to share visions and strengthen commitment for health and high-quality urban living. (http://www.healthycities2014.org/)
Today 90 cities representing 30 countries join their efforts within the frames of the European Healthy cities network. In different countries cities-participants are connected with each other through various national, regional and municipal thematic networks. The Russian national Healthy Cities Network – the Association for Healthy Cities, Districts, and Settlements – includes 30 cities with general population over 12 million of people.
The city of Izhevsk was the first one in Russia that was accredited in the WHO European Healthy cities network. Since 1997 activities on creation of conditions for health improvement of Izhevsk citizens has been in process. In 2010 Izhevsk became a member of the Russian national network - the Association for Healthy Cities, Districts, and Settlements. Now Izhevsk is obtaining accreditation in the phase VI of the project that will last from 2014 to 2018.
Thematic blocks discussed during the Conference covered variety of topical issues including the following ones:
- health policy development on different levels;
- health preservation and improvement among all groups of urban population – children, young people, workers, elderly people and migrants;
- healthy lifestyle propaganda;
- disease prevention;
- healthy diet;
- creation of conditions for healthy lifestyle;
- struggling against harmful habits.
Special attention was given to creation of available and supportive urban environment for people with limited mobility – invalids and elderly people. Urban planning, development of safe transport system, creation of favourable conditions for leisure and sports are integral parts of a healthy city.
Delegates from Izhevsk presented their reports during the Conference: Ms. Irina Tesleva covered five-year experience of the city of Izhevsk on health improvement and Ms. Elena Zimina presented a new complex program for people suffering from hearing loss.
A sum-up and the results of the International Healthy Cities Conference in Athens are comprised in the Declaration for Healthy Cities which was elaborated during the conference and finally signed by all mayors and senior political representatives of cities present; the declaration also calls on “all city and health leaders and everyone who lives in urban settings to join in this endeavor to create a healthier and sustainable future”.