Alliance for Healthy Cities
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The Alliance for Healthy Cities is an international network aiming at protecting and enhancing the health of city dwellers. The Alliance is a group of cities and other organizations that try to achieve the goal through an approach called “Healthy Cities”. We believe that international cooperation is an effective and efficient tool to achieve the goal. And we promote the interaction of people who are in the front lines of health issues.
The Healthy Cities approach was initiated by the World Health Organization. In order to cope with the adverse effects of an urban environment over health, the WHO has been promoting the approach worldwide.
As an increasing population lives in cities amid global urbanization, we hope that our international network will help make strides in the promotion of health of the people living in cities.
The Healthy Cities approach is based on the concept that the social, economic and physical environment is the key to the health of city dwellers. The Healthy Cities program aims to cope with health issues that have emerged with urbanization. While urbanization is underway at an alarming pace worldwide, urban health issues become complex and this complexity requires cooperation between the conventional health sector and non-health sectors.
Urbanization has brought about changes to the lifestyle and living environment of city dwellers. Among such changes are population growth, degrading air and water quality, crowded housing, traffic congestion, and waste management, to name a few. In a social context, urbanization also has brought about changes in terms of family and working styles. These changes can be seen in an increase in working mothers and a growth of nighttime workers. In addition, the development of advanced transportation system facilitates the movement of people and goods, leading to the breakouts of infectious diseases among urban populations.
Various social and environmental changes are intertwined and affect the health of people in cities. Under the Healthy Cities initiative, the WHO encourages local governments to incorporate health issues and health concerns into all aspects of public policy. The WHO stresses to link public health policy to the rest of urban policy such as economic promotion and community development. Since these fields are conventionally considered to be irrelevant to public health, the Healthy Cities approach sharply contrasts with the traditional health approach. The WHO also encourages cities to closely work with the private sector such as companies and non-government organizations.
While the WHO has expertise in the Healthy Cities approach, it is a city that actually makes a Healthy City plan and carries out a Healthy City program. Cities are regarded as the most suitable players to proceed with the HealthyCity program because the program should be oriented with a local community and the participation of local citizens and groups is essential to the success of the program.
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[ Definition ]
"A healthy city is one that is continually creating and improving those physical and social environments and expanding those community resources which enable people to mutually support each other in performing all the functions of life and in developing to their maximum potential."(Hancock, T. and L. Duhl. 1988)
Any city can start the process of becoming a Healthy Cityif it is committed to the creation and preservation of physical and social environments which support and promote better health and quality of life for residents. Incorporating health considerations into urban development and management is crucial to Healthy Cities.
Key features of a Healthy Cities project include high political commitment; intersectoral collaboration; community participation; integration of activities in elemental settings; development of a city health profile and a local action plan; periodic monitoring and evaluation; participatory research and analyses; information sharing; involvement of the media; incorporation of views from all groups within the community; mechanisms for sustainability; linkage with community development and human development; and national and international networking.
Our society appreciates the diversity of countries and cities and nurtures the diversity through cooperation and respects for differences in situations among countries and cities. Sharing the Healthy Cities concept and project characteristics ensures a common platform for Healthy Cities to exchange their experiences.
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The Alliance for Healthy Cities is the network founded on the international efforts on Healthy Cities worldwide. Our members are municipal governments, national governments, NGOs, private sectors, academic institutions, and international agencies. We all support the Healthy Cities approach.
Through the network of the Alliance, it is hoped that its members cooperate and are inspired to make the best use of the Healthy Cities approach. Experiences by one city or one person can be a good guide to others. If the members accumulate such experiences, it would be a great vehicle to improve the health of urban residents in member cities and towns. To that end, the Alliance promotes the interaction of people and information exchange, research development, and capacity building programs.
On top of promoting Healthy Cities programs for our members, the Alliance will work to raise public awareness of the Healthy Cities approach beyond the scope of the Alliance members. The ultimate goal of the Healthy Cities program is to create sustainable cities with the focus on health.
And hopefully, we can enjoy the process of creating healthier cities and befriending others through an international network.
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[ History ]
The Alliance was founded October 17, 2003 at the First Organizational Meeting, an inaugural meeting held at the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific in Manila, Philippines. The participants of the inaugural meeting were cities, national coordinators, NGOs, and academic institutions engaged in the Healthy Cities program worldwide.
On October 12-14, 2004, the Alliance held its Inaugural General Assembly and Conference in Kuching City, Sarawak, Malaysia. City mayors, governors, city officers, public health and urban planning professionals, NGOs, academic institutions, and national and international leaders gathered to celebrate the inauguration of the Alliance for Healthy Cities.
On October 28-30, 2006, the Second General Assembly and Conference was held in Suzhou, China. The main theme of the conference was “Healthy Cities in the Globalizing World”.
On October 23-26, 2008, the Third Global Conference of the Alliance for Healthy Cities was held in Ichikawa, Japan. The main theme of this conference was "Health Security in the City: Healthy Cities activities building a better future".

On October 26-29, 2010, the Fourth Global Conference of the Alliance for Healthy Cities was held in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea. The main them of this conference was "Ubiquitous Healthy City".
On October 24-27, 2012, the Fifth Global Conference of the Alliance for Healthy Cities was held in Brisbane, Australia. The main theme of this conference was "Healthy Urbanisation - Healthy People".

On October 29-November 1, 2014, the Sixth Global Conference of the Alliance for Healthy Cities was held in Hong Kong, China. The main theme of this conference was "Healthy in All Policies".

On October 29-31, 2016, the Seventh Global Conference of the Alliance for Healthy Cities was held in Wonju, Republic of Korea. The main theme of this conference was "Our Cities, Our Health, Our Future".

On October 17-20, 2018, the Eighth Global Conference of the Alliance for Healthy Cities was held in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. The main theme of this conference was "Our Cities, Our SDGs, Our Journey".

In 2020, the Ninth Global Conference of the Alliance for Healthy Cities will be held in Hong Kong, China.
The Alliance accepts membership applications from cities, municipalities, NGOs, universities, national agencies, private sectors, and others. More cities and organizations in various parts of the world are now joining.

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Chair City of the Alliance for Healthy Cities (2018-2020)
Kuching City, Sarawak, Malaysia
Steering Committee
・ Gangdong-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea* [Chair, 2018-2020]
・ Kiama, Australia**
・ Kwai Tsing, Hong Kong SAR, China**
・ Owariasahi, Japan*
・ Kuching, Malaysia*
・ Centre for Health Education and Health Promotion, Chinese University of Hong Kong**
・ Department of Health, National Capital Regional Office (DOH-NCRO)*
・ Taipei Healthy City Promotion Association**

* terms 2016-2020; ** terms 2018-2022
Working Committees
  Committee on the International Support Program
    NGO Healthy City Support Organization
Award Committee
Centre for Health Education and Health Promotion, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Scientific Committee
Contact: Secretariat of the Alliance for Healthy Cities
Convenor and Chair City of the Global Assembly, 2018
Kuching City, Sarawak, Malaysia
Previous Global Conference of the Alliance for Healthy Cities

Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia (12-14 October 2004)
The City of Suzhou, China (28-30 October 2006)
Ichikawa City, Japan (23-26 October 2008)
Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea (26-29 October 2010)
Brisbane, Australia (24-27 October 2012)
Hong Kong SAR, China (29 October-1 November 2014)
Wonju City, Republic of Korea (29-31 October 2016)
Kuching City, Sarawak, Malaysia (17-20 October 2018)

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