Partnership for Healthy Cities award recipients include Montevideo, Uruguay for food policy; Mexico City, Mexico for road safety; Vancouver, Canada for surveillance; Athens, Greece for overdose prevention, and Bengaluru, India for tobacco control.

The first-of-its-kind Summit was convened in London by Bloomberg Philanthropies, World Health Organization, Vital Strategies, and Mayor Sadiq Khan of London.

Today, during the inaugural Partnership for Healthy Cities Summit in London, five global cities were recognized for their achievements in preventing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries. The Summit brought together mayors and officials from more than 50 major cities in the partnership to discuss urgent public health concerns and best practices that save lives and create healthier cities.

With the majority of the global population now living in urban settings, ensuring the health and wellbeing of residents in our world’s urban centers is crucial. NCDs – including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases – and injuries are responsible for over 80% of all deaths globally. Cities are uniquely positioned to transform the fight against NCDs and injuries by implementing policies to significantly reduce exposure to risk factors. The Summit highlights best practices and proven interventions, which are especially important as public health is at risk of becoming less of a priority three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Noncommunicable diseases and injuries pose the number-one threat to global public health. Mayors worldwide are increasingly uniting to confront it, and the Partnership for Healthy Cities will continue to support their urgent and lifesaving work,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, 108th mayor of New York City, and WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries. “Our network’s first-ever Summit showcased the best of local public health leadership, and given the gains achieved by our inaugural award winners, we hope even more leaders will follow in their footsteps as they create healthier, more vibrant cities.”

“The five cities being recognized today demonstrate that mayors can drive powerful progress to protect the health of their citizens,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “WHO remains committed to working through the Partnership for Healthy Cities to support majors around the world to build cities that promote and protect health, rather than harm it.”

Founded in 2017, the Partnership for Healthy Cities is a prestigious global network consisting of 70 cities working together to prevent NCDs and injuries. Mayors in the partnership were invited to join and committed to addressing a pressing public health issue in their city. Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies in partnership with the WHO and Vital Strategies, this initiative enables cities around the world to deliver a high-impact policy or programmatic intervention to reduce NCDs and injuries in their communities. Through the Partnership for Healthy Cities, local leaders around the world have enacted policies that are improving the health and safety of millions of people.

During the Summit, five member cities were recognized with a 2023 Partnership for Healthy Cities Award for positively impacting the health of their population and making sustainable and lasting strides toward NCD and injury prevention that can be replicated in other jurisdictions.

The five winning cities, each receiving US$ 150 000 to further their work with the partnership, are:

  • Athens, Greece for increasing access to the opioid overdose reversal agent, naloxone, at community-based organizations and among healthcare professionals. The city also started researching causes of death among people who inject drugs to better understand the impact of the overdose crisis;
  • Bengaluru, India for their efforts in tobacco control, specifically, reducing smoking in public places and improving compliance with existing mandates on public smoking bans;
  • Mexico City, Mexico for improving road safety and safe and active mobility by launching a bike path on a busy road that led to a 275% increase in cyclists; implementing a shared lane for cyclists and buses separate from cars; establishing loading and unloading areas; and optimizing design and management of roads close to schools;
  • Montevideo, Uruguay for establishing nutritional standards for the preparation and sale of food in government agency offices and some public universities, for focusing on sodium reduction and policies developing media campaigns and educational materials; and
  • Vancouver, Canada to make public health data more inclusive and accessible by launching an online public health data tool that tracks population health indicators and works with urban Indigenous communities to better inform data management.

“These initiatives are not only improving the health of Londoners, but alleviating pressure off our health service and ensuring that future generations can thrive. Improving the health of Londoners will always be at the heart of my vision to build a safer and more prosperous London for everyone.”said the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan“I’m delighted to be joining Mayors from around the world today to tackle some of the biggest issues facing our cities. The health of our citizens is a city’s greatest asset so I’m taking bold steps to invest in the health of Londoners, such as restricting junk food advertising across the Transport for London network and expanding the Ultra Low Emission Zone, which will mean five million more Londoners will be able to breathe cleaner air.”

“Cities are places where health can be produced or compromised,” said José Luis Castro, President and CEO, Vital Strategies. “We applaud the work of urban leaders around the globe in their efforts to create healthier, stronger and more equitable cities. We are eager to continue our work supporting cities with the tools and resources needed to bring proven solutions that prevent noncommunicable diseases and injuries to fruition.”

Notes for editors:

The mayors who attended the inaugural Partnership for Healthy Cities Summit—and their city’s public health focus areas—were:

  • Major Kiritkumar Jivanlal ParmarAhmedabad, India
    Focus area: Noncommunicable disease surveillance
  • Major Kostas BakoyannisAthens, Greece
    Focus area: Overdose prevention
  • Major José SartoFortaleza, Brazil
    Focus area: Improving air quality surveillance
  • Major Erias LukwagoKampala, Uganda
    Focus area: Improving air quality surveillance
  • Major Balendra ShahKathmandu, Nepal
    Focus area: Improving air quality surveillance
  • Major Samuel PyneKumasi, Ghana
    Focus area: Reducing traffic fatalities through speed management
  • Major Sadiq KhanLondon, United Kingdom
    Focus area: Reducing children’s exposure to unhealthy food and drink through advertising restrictions
  • Major Chilando ChitangalaLusaka, Zambia
    Focus area: Reducing road traffic injuries, with a special focus on women and children
  • Major Carolina CosseMontevideo, Uruguay
    Focus area: Nutrition standards
  • Major Joy BelmonteQuezon City, Philippines
    Focus area: Pursuing healthier restaurant environments, with a focus on calorie labeling on menus
  • Governor Claudio Orrego LarraínSantiago, Chile
    Focus area: Developing a metropolitan mobility policy
  • Major Carolina MejíaSanto Domingo, Dominican Republic
    Focus area: Speed ​​management on urban avenues
  • Major Se-hoon OhSeoul, South Korea
    Focus area: Improving compliance with tobacco advertising restrictions in public areas

About the Partnership for Healthy Cities

The Partnership for Healthy Cities (PHC), supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Vital Strategies, is a prestigious global network of 70 cities whose majors are committed to preventing NCDs—including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and chronic lung disease—and injuries through proven interventions.

In 2021, the Partnership launched the Policy Accelerator to support an initial cohort of 15 cities in the network to create and adopt strong public health policies and to institutionalize development processes for future policy. A second cohort of Policy Accelerator Cities will be announced at the Summit. More information and statistics about the Partnership for Healthy Cities and the Policy Accelerator can be found at cities4health.org.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 700 cities and 150 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the largest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2022, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed US$ 1.7 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org, sign up for our newsletter, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

About the World Health Organization
Dedicated to the well-being of all people and guided by science, the World Health Organization leads and champions global efforts to give everyone, everywhere an equal chance at a safe and healthy life. We are the UN agency for health that connects nations, partners and people on the front lines in 150+ locations – leading the world’s response to health emergencies, preventing disease, addressing the root causes of health issues and expanding access to medicines and health care. Our mission is to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable.

For more information visit www.who.int and follow WHO on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube

About Vital Strategies
Vital Strategies believes every person should be protected by an equitable and effective public health system. We partner with governments, communities and organizations around the world to reimagine public health so that health is supported in all the places we live, work and play. The result is millions of people living longer, healthier lives. To learn more visit www.vitalstrategies.org or follow us @VitalStrat.

Five cities recognized for public health achievements at Partnership for Healthy Cities Summit

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