In mid-September (18-20 September 2017) the Healthy Cities of the Czech Republic had the honour to host an international meeting of the WHO Healthy Cities Networks of the European Region. The event was held under the aegis of the WHO Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen and the WHO Country Office in Prague, and in cooperation with the UN Information Centre Prague and the City of Prague, which kindly provided the historic premises of the Old Town Hall. The meeting was attended by the Healthy Cities representatives – national coordinators and political representatives from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Great Britain and Northern Ireland as well as from Russia, Turkey and Israel and the WHO collaborating Centre Baltic Region Healthy CIties.
Conducted mainly in the form of discussions and teamwork, the objective of the meeting was to frame visions of further development and to evaluate the international WHO Healthy City Programme, which will celebrate 30 years of existence in 2018 as an European initiative aimed at promoting health, sustainable development and the quality of life. The participants reflected on the responsibility of various national networks and mutual inspirations etc. An emphasis was placed on finding ways to implement the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while maintaining local specificities of the countries involved in the WHO Healthy City programme.
The Czech Republic can draw inspiration for example from Norwegian Healthy Cities which use actively (and not only) Instagram to engage the young generation. Conversely, the Irish model focuses on the priorities of the Health 2020 and the integration of these topics into the structures at regional and local level through a broad campaign. The French network came up with interesting inspirational ideas concerning communication and engagement of national and local politicians, and the assessment of economic benefits of cycling and walking regarding health (HEAT Tool). Currently, the network is dealing with the issue of green spaces and healthy urban development. Finland can also serve as a good example of active use of Health Impact Assessment (HIA) – assessing impacts of policies on health. On the other hand, health literacy is a priority issue for the Russian Federation. Furthermore, the participants highly valued experience from the Czech network regarding systemic integrated approaches to the quality of public administration, expert know-how, active cooperation with its wide membership base, and a number of tools provided by the Czech Healthy Cities National Network.
The network cooperation involved in the WHO European Healthy City Programme is based on close collaboration and sharing of good practices together with finding ways to implement health and sustainable development topics at local level. Therefore, Healthy Cities serve as a platform for fostering cooperation with other initiatives such as Smart, Resilient, Sustainable, Green Cities etc.
Photos from the event: www.zdravamesta.cz/nn-meeting-