The WHO-initiated European Healthy Cities movement is an important policy tool to engage local governments in health development. Thanks to this initiative over 1500 cities have started the process of political commitment, institutional change and capacity building.

In cooperation with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), the WHO will publish a report on urban health inequalities around the world, including a series of practical examples and policy recommendations for evidence-based interventions.

Facts and figures

Today, more than half of the world’s population live in cities, and urbanisation will be one of the biggest global health challenges during the 21st century. By 2030, 6 out of every 10 people around the globe will be city dwellers, rising to 7 out of 10 by 2050.

70% of the population in the WHO European Region lives in urban areas. More than 92% of city residents breath air that does not meet the WHO air quality guidelines. Everyday 100 children and young people are killed in road traffic injuries. Environmental noise is another common stressor in urban areas.


For Further Information

- 1000 Cities 1000 Lives
- World Health Day 2010
- Healthy Cities and urban governance


Related EPHA Articles

- World Health Day 2009 - Better health system responses to disasters
- OPEN DAYS 2008 European Week of Regions and Cities - ’Health Village’
- Health inequalities highlighted in new report by French National Observatory on Poverty and Social Exclusion
- EPHA welcomes first steps and calls for bold action on health inequalities

Last modified on April 28 2010.