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Partnership for Healthy Cities

With the majority of the world’s population now living in urban settings, cities are uniquely positioned to transform the fight against NCDs and injuries by implementing policies to significantly reduce exposure to risk factors.

Why It Matters

  • 80% of deaths worldwide are caused by noncommunicable diseases and injuries. These are largely preventable.
  • 68% of the world will live in cities by 2050.

Our Current Focus

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries kill almost 46 million people globally each year. They are responsible for 80% of global deaths. 

With most of the global population now living in urban settings, cities and their leaders play a critical role in developing, implementing and enforcing policies to create healthy environments for healthier populations. 

The Partnership for Healthy Cities, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies in partnership with the World Health Organization and Vital Strategies, is a global network of 54 cities whose mayors have committed to prevent NCDs—including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and chronic lung disease—and injuries through proven interventions. The Partnership was spurred by the 2016 appointment of former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg as World Health Organization (WHO) Global Ambassador for NCDs, a position renewed in 2018. 

As implementing partner, Vital Strategies provides in-kind technical assistance, communication and public relations support and disburses seed grants to participating cities. Cities in the network are offered workshops to support capacity building and networking opportunities.

The actions these mayors take can prevent millions of needless deaths and protect the health of generations to come while at the same time making their cities stronger and more prosperous.”

Michael R. Bloomberg
WHO Global Ambassador for NCDs and Injuries
Quito, Ecuador launches its Partnership for Healthy Cities project. (Photo: Juan Carlos Bayas)

Selected City Activities

Montevideo, Uruguay: New restaurant menu regulations came into force in Montevideo requiring that 10% of all menu items are options with no added salt. An educational video informing the public about the links between high salt consumption and cardiovascular disease is in wide circulation. 

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: Together with urban mobility experts at the World Resources Institute (WRI), the city examined cycling, transport and crash injury data, and developed plans for how to create safer spaces for cyclists. The result is the city’s new Bicycle Action Plan, which will offer ways to link current bike routes to waterfront paths to improve both commuting and recreational cycling. 

Melbourne, Australia: To encourage more use of the city’s well-established network of safe pedestrian and cycling paths, Melbourne created and launched Get Moving, a new interactive, rewards-based mobile app. The program focused on city workers, encouraging them to be active throughout the day and increasing their understanding of how they can improve health and well-being both at work and during their commutes. 

Quito, Ecuador: With Partnership support, Quito has provided 13,000 children with access to healthier foods at six schools across the city. In addition to improving the quality of foods sold at the canteens, the city prohibits marketing of junk food in or near these institutions. These successes are helping prompt a regional conversation about implementing similar school food strategies in other Latin American cities. 

Kampala, Uganda: Despite a strong national smoke-free law in place in Uganda, enforcement in the capital has been weak, and tobacco use has remained high. Through an enforcement drive, increased police fines and strong messages about the harms of smoking, Kampala is making public places healthier and helping its citizens give up a deadly habit. 

Quezon City, Philippines: To promote the health and welfare of children, Quezon City adopted an ordinance in 2017 prohibiting the sale or promotion of junk food and sugary drinks to preparatory, elementary and high school students inside and within 100 meters of public and private schools. In addition to implementing and enforcing this ordinance, a communication campaign highlighted the links between consuming sugary drinks, junk food and the risk of developing NCDs. 

Bandung, Indonesia: A 2017 decree declared many types of public venues in Bandung to be smoke-free. Since then, the city has increased regular inspections and placed new signage in smoke-free areas, including in government buildings, hotels, restaurants and schools. Social media campaigns promoted the city’s smoke-free efforts, with public events including an outdoor World No Tobacco Day art fair. 

Our Global Network of Cities

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