It was just a short while ago that the World Health Organization’s Global Forum on Urbanization and Health in Kobe, Japan was month’s away. It is now less than a week away, and the excitement about the meeting appears to be growing.
The agenda has been set, the National League of Cities’ role in the agenda determined, and World Health Organization leaders, national government ministers and local government officials including city representatives are about to engage in a meaningful discussion about the impact of urbanization on residents’ health and the ways that cities and towns can address this issue.
Importantly, as a matter of policy, the World Health Organization has determined that to talk about this issue one must engage sub-national governments, including cities and towns. For that reason, the National League of Cities has been engaged as an active partner involved in the drafting of the final report that will be issued during the Forum and the declaration that member states are expected to endorse, as well as a facilitator during a peer-to-peer discussion on how local governments can best address their citizens’ health care needs.
Forum organizers expect to achieve three things:
The first is to provide attendees with information on the issues surrounding urbanization and health. For developed countries the focus will be on disparities in health care based on income and access and provide solutions that may be implemented locally to address this problem.
The second is to provide attendees with examples of what cities and towns around the world are doing to address the problems arising from increased urbanization. This will be done through a series of workshops highlighting these efforts, including presentations by elected and appointed city leaders and health care providers on the second day.
The third is to adopt a declaration on urbanization and health that will provide member states, and cities and towns, with guidance and information on how to address health care disparities that arise in urban environments.
You can follow each day’s activities either her through a series of blogs that I expect to post or via Twitter @neilbomberg or @leagueofcities. If there is anything you would specifically like to know about the conference, please feel free to raise the question in the comments section, and I will attempt to respond as quickly as possible either through a follow-up blog or via Twitter.