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ISUH – Nairobi Statement on Urbanization & Health

International Society for Urban Health
8th International Conference for Urban Health
Urban Health Champions Forum
October 19, 2009



We Urge Recognition of the Facts of Urbanization:

  • Over half the world’s population live in cities
  • Urbanization is a reality facing all countries
  • Between now and 2050, 3 billion people will settle primarily in cities, a fact that demands planning and action now to assure urban health and well being
  • The majority of urban residents in developing countries live in informal settlements where they lack proper housing, water, sanitation, garbage disposal, security, schooling, and health services.

We Recognize the Benefits of Urbanization

  • People move to urban areas largely to improve their lives and economic opportunities and urban residents often provide important support to their rural home economies as a result.
  • Formal and informal economic contributions of the urban poor are often critical to overall economic development of cities and nations
  • Urban settings can improve access to health services, education, and social and cultural opportunities and, when growth is effectively managed , cities can be part of the solution and not just part of the problem in national growth.
  • If well managed, cities can be engines of development for national economies and centers of positive sociopolitical transformation
  • The high population density in cities can facilitate delivery of development interventions to large numbers of people

We Acknowledge the Risks of Urbanization

  • Countries that fail to plan for increasing urbanization place themselves and their citizens at serious health, economic, and security risk.
  • The health of slum dwellers is typically well below that in other urban and rural areas, even when stratified by poverty level. These inequities are also observed in other critical development indicators like schooling and affect the health of the entire city.
  • Settlements without legal status and services can become focal points for social tensions, conflict and illicit economic activity.

As Urban Health Champions, We commit to Promoting the Following Ideals to Improve Health Outcomes and Overall the Effectiveness of Cities and Major Urban Settlements in Our Countries:

  • Effective, transparent, accountable, and proactive governance that is broadly inclusive is a critical factor in the growth of healthy cities.
  • Solutions to urbanization should be developed within a framework that is inter-sectoral where governments work effectively in partnership with the public, organizations of civil society and the business community.
  • Donor agencies and governments must include urban concerns in their strategies as adapted to country circumstances
  • Interventions and programs to improve the functioning of urban areas and cities should be designed with equity consciousness to ensure that the most vulnerable urban dwellers have input to and benefit from the programs
  • An urgent priority is the development of effective strategies that create incentives to health to address the challenges of slum settlements to ensure they are places where the informal sector to thrive, human needs are met, and people can live decent lives.
  • Cities must integrate health and urban planning and begin planning for the growth of their cities now.
  • Links between urban health, sustainable development, and MDG’s must be demonstrated to policy makers
  • Cities should respond appropriately to climate change in the interest of protecting and promoting human health
    Improved surveillance, evidence, and research from robust evaluations of interventions must be shared and used to identify best approaches for investing in healthy cities.
  • Increased capacity is needed to assure the availability of the expertise to provide health impact evaluation and monitoring.

Overall Commitment to the Nairobi Statement

  • We commit to advancing the achievement of these Urban Health Champion Solutions through continued consultation, mutual learning and actions that promote development and evaluation of policies and programs that promote the health and well-being of all urban residents as a path to effective national economic and social development.

Source – http://www.icuh2009.org/nairobistatement.htm

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