Children have the right to live in healthy cities
The Municipality of İzmir, Turkey reached first base by becoming a member of the Healthy Cities Association in 2006. The first aim was to prepare the city health plan. In the context of this plan, several work groups were organised and each group had studied a specific topic. One of these topics was “disadvantaged groups, including “CHILDREN”. The hosting city of Izmir belongs among the main candidates to organise the world exhibition Expo 2020 under the title of “Health for All”.
In 1977, with the World Health Assembly in Geneva, all countries were invited to join the struggle to promote “health for everyone”. After this commitment, the World Health Organization (WHO) started to investigate health policies and then the “health for everyone” strategy was established in 1984. The movement, which includes several different applications of the overall concept, was first adopted by 11 cities in Europe in 1986, and then spread to 1400 cities across the continent. In the course of time, health improvements inspired by this movement have taken place in Australia, Canada, USA and many other countries.
As is well understood, in a healthy city, the security of urban areas, street usage, chances for social interaction, opportunities for play and sport and participation in cultural activities…are all very important for children. Starting with disabled children, all children should be considered in policies and plans for their the city. With this perspective, since 2006 a certain number of childhood studies have been conducted in İzmir. These studies firstly aimed to increase children’s awareness of their surroundings and to improve their sense of citizenship.
WHO European Healthy Cities Network
The conference of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network 2013 too place in Izmir. “We are proud to host the 5th Annual Business and Technical Conference of WHO European Healthy Cities Network and European National Healthy Cities Network in 2013. “WHO Healthy Cities Network represents a key structure to improve responsibility and innovation in health; and increases awareness by providing continuity for national and international information sharing.
Joined to WHO European Healthy Cities Network, İzmir uses reasonable efforts to enable “Health for All” principles applied in local level to carry the consciousness about public health to sufficient levels. As local government of İzmir, we work to create living environments of more quality by sharing our knowledge and experiences on health problems with other member cities. All of these may be considered significant advantage for İzmir as the strongest candidate of EXPO 2020 under the theme of “Health for All”, said Mayor of Izmir, Aziz Kocaoglu.
Mayor of İzmir while making a presentation about “İzmir” in Healthy Cities Conference
Author: Dr. Burcu Gülay Taşçı