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Mar 16, 2023

Partnership for Healthy Cities Summit in London

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FA Correspondent
City Summit

The Partnership for Healthy Cities Summit, the first-of-its-kind was convened in London by Bloomberg Philanthropies, World Health Organization, Vital Strategies, and Mayor Sadiq Khan of London Wednesday March 15, 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.

It is a prestigious global network of 70 cities committed to saving lives by preventing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries.

With the majority of the world’s population now living in urban settings, cities are uniquely positioned to transform the fight against NCDs and injuries by implementing policies to significantly reduce exposure to risk factors.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the key role of public health leadership by cities, at the forefront of rapid response while working toward healthier, longer lives for all urban residents.

During the inaugural, five global cities namely 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 were recognized for their achievements in preventing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases – and injuries that are responsible for over 80% of all deaths globally.

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

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.

The Summit highlights best practices and proven interventions, which is 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, added the WHO statement.

“The five cities being recognized demonstrate that mayors can drive powerful progress to protect the health of their citizens,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General adding, “WHO remains committed to working through the Partnership for Healthy Cities to support mayors 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 comprised 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.

“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,” said the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

“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,” he added.

“Cities are places where health can be produced or compromised,” said José Luis Castro, President and CEO, Vital Strategies.

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

Mayor Kiritkumar Jivanlal Parmar, Ahmedabad, India

Focus area: Noncommunicable disease surveillance

Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis, Athens, Greece

Focus area: Overdose prevention

Mayor José Sarto, Fortaleza, Brazil

Focus area: Improving air quality surveillance

Mayor Erias Lukwago, Kampala, Uganda

Focus area: Improving air quality surveillance

Mayor Balendra Shah, Kathmandu, Nepal

Focus area: Improving air quality surveillance

Mayor Samuel Pyne, Kumasi, Ghana

Focus area: Reducing traffic fatalities through speed management     

Mayor Sadiq Khan, London, United Kingdom

Focus area: Reducing children’s exposure to unhealthy food and drink through advertising restrictions

Mayor Chilando Chitangala, Lusaka, Zambia

Focus area: Reducing road traffic injuries, with a special focus on women and children

Mayor Carolina Cosse, Montevideo, Uruguay

Focus area: Nutrition standards

Mayor Joy Belmonte, Quezon City, Philippines

Focus area: Pursuing healthier restaurant environments, with a focus on calorie labeling on menus

Governor Claudio Orrego Larraín, Santiago, Chile

Focus area: Developing a metropolitan mobility policy 

Mayor Carolina Mejía, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Focus area: Speed management on urban avenues                                           

Mayor Se-hoon Oh, Seoul, South Korea

Focus area: Improving adherence with tobacco advertising restrictions in public areas                

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 mayors have committed to prevent 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

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 700 cities and 150 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest 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.

Co-hosts: World Health Organization, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Vital Strategies with London Mayor Sadiq Khan

Since the Partnership for Healthy Cities was founded in 2017, members of the 70-city global network have been implementing partnership-supported projects and pursuing stronger public health policies in a number of areas, including tobacco control, food policy, road safety, strengthening surveillance of NCDs and overdose prevention.

Of the 55 countries, 37 are in the WHO African region, eight in the Western Pacific region, six in the Eastern Mediterranean region, three in the South-East Asia region and one is in the Americas. Eight countries have been newly added to the support and safeguards list since its original publication in 2020.

The 2023 update is informed by the report of the WHO Expert Advisory Group on the Relevance and Effectiveness of the WHO Global Code.

This issue will be discussed at the upcoming Fifth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, which will examine the required policy solutions, investments, and multi-sectoral partnerships to address health and care workforce challenges to advance health systems towards the attainment of UHC and health security.

The outcomes of the Summit will inform the United Nations General Assembly’s High-Level Meeting on UHC in September 2023, the WHO said.