UN Summit to Bring Together Mayors Around Creating Healthy Cities

By: Lucy Walker, Policy Intern

On March 15, 2023, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) will be co-hosting the inaugural “Partnership for Healthy Cities Summit” in London. Mayors and city leaders from around the world will meet to discuss how to mitigate the rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries and their toll on urban healthcare systems.

The Partnership for Healthy Cities was founded in 2017 and is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies in partnership with the WHO and Vital Strategies, a global public health strategy NGO. It contains a global network of 70 cities, including four in the United States, that have all committed to fighting NCDs and injuries.

NCDs include heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and respiratory diseases and are responsible for 80% of deaths globally. According to UN predictions, 2.5 billion more people will be living in urban environments by 2050, making cities well-positioned to protect human health and limit exposure to risk factors.

The summit will present several strategies and best practices to help cities center health and human wellness in their design. Safe streets that allow for mobility, access to fresh produce and whole foods, and reduced air pollution are all important elements of a healthy and thriving city. 

In the face of compounding health crises, including climate change and COVID-19, this is a key opportunity for city leaders to share knowledge and pave the way toward healthier and more sustainable communities.