Towards More Liveable and Healthy Cities in the Euro-Mediterranean Region
- A joint webinar series by the UfM and the WHO Regional Office for Europe addressed the challenges and solutions to embed health and wellbeing in the planning and management of urban settings, as according to studies, cities can avoid up to 20% of premature deaths with better urban and transport planning.
- Urban sustainability is becoming an urgent need, especially in the Mediterranean region, which is one of the world’s climate change hotspots.
Barcelona, 18 April 2023. In the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding between the UfM and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to collaborate across sectors in reinforcing the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UfM and the WHO Regional Office for Europe hosted four joint webinars focusing on the health impact of urban environments in 2021 and 2022: “Environment and Health in Seaport Cities” (June 2021 and July 2022), “Urban Nature, Green Spaces and Health” (March 2022), and “Protecting Environments and Health by Building Urban Resilience” (October 2022).
The webinars, which gathered over 1000 participants, brought together urban practitioners and decision-makers from a variety of countries, cities and organisations, and provided an overview of both challenges and solutions to embed health and wellbeing in the planning and management of urban settings.
Sabri Ergen, Deputy Secretary General for Transport and Urban Development, Union for the Mediterranean stated: “As excellent example of collaboration between the UfM and the WHO, the webinars provided the latest evidence on how much the way in which we design our cities has a profound impact on the health of its citizens, and on how the need to act on urban nature is becoming increasingly acute and urgent, including in the Mediterranean region, which is one of the world’s climate change hotspots.”
Francesca Racioppi, Head of the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health explained: “This institutional partnership aims to support UfM and WHO Member States in building capacity and promoting action for health, including through health research, health education and advocacy for health, in all policy domains. In this context, the webinars helped to raise awareness about and promote healthy environments through urban development and governance.”
The ongoing collaboration between the UfM and the WHO Regional Office for Europe will be highlighted during the Third UfM Ministerial Conference on Sustainable Urban Development (Zagreb, 4 May 2023). The UfM Strategic Urban Development Action Plan 2040 will further strengthen UfM-WHO collaboration in the years ahead.
Further information can be found in the following leaflet which summarises the results of the joint webinar series.
Collaborating with the WHO
The WHO and the Union for the Mediterranean UfM signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2020 to collaborate across sectors in reinforcing the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This institutional partnership aims to support UfM Member States in building capacity and promoting action for health, including through health research, health education and advocacy for health, in all policy domains of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership.
The UfM Urban Agenda aims to support the creation of more resilient and inclusive cities in the Mediterranean region, with a focus on reducing inequalities and contributing to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The UfM Strategic Urban Development Action Plan 2040 establishes a common vision for tackling urban challenges in the region. It aims to improve the quality of life for all citizens by building better, more inclusive, climate-resilient communities.
The WHO European Centre for Environment and Health supports the European Process on Environment and Health, initiated by the WHO Regional Office for Europe in 1989. The process provides a unique intersectoral policy platform, which brings together relevant sectors and partners to help shape policies and actions on environment and health, and supports the implementation of effective, evidence-based policies and preventive actions on environment, health and well-being in the WHO European Region.