In recent years, Healthy Cities have been increasing in number at an astonishing rate. However, National Healthy City network members must meet certain certification conditions before becoming officially recognised as a Healthy City. The city requesting a Healthy City certification must commit to health policies and adhere to a list of criteria defined by WHO.

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A political commitment

The first step is to approve the network’s health policy principles and strategies, as defined by WHO. In doing so, the city accepts to fully implement the objectives of the current phase (which changes every five years within the European network). This commitment must be endorsed by the city council and backed up by a speech from the mayor.

Dedicated infrastructures

A city-appointed coordinator should be allocated administrative support and human and material resources. A cross-sectoral steering committee, with at least one political leader, must be established and must meet regularly.

Resources and results

The city must commit to organising concrete activities which aim, amongst others, to reduce health inequalities through support for vulnerable populations. The city must also carry out health promotion programmes, and rethink urban planning in light of this. An annual report must be sent to the national network of which the city is a member.

A network approach

The city which is requesting certification must also prove that it is willing to exchange information and best practices. Its representatives must attend annual national network meetings and ideally European network meetings also, when resources allow this. It is also preferable to set up a Healthy City website and take part in the regular training programmes run by the national network.

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Article updated on 28/09/22