The “Healthy Cities” movement was initiated by World Health Organization (WHO) in 1986, articulating a vision of a healthy city as below:
"A healthy city is one that is continually creating and improving those physical and social environments and expanding those community resources which enable people to mutually support each other in performing all the functions of life and in developing to their maximum potential." (Hancock, T. and Duhl, L., 1988)
By early 1990s, “Healthy Cities” has fast become a major global movement for the new public health internationally. While this movement advocates “Local Problems, Local Solutions and Local Resources”, there are 7 guiding principles for development of Healthy City Projects, including:
- Inter-sectoral Collaboration - to facilitate collaboration across government departments and service organisation for better services tailored to community needs
- Community Participation - to encourage local people and organisation to voice out their opinions and actively participate in building up a healthy community
- Equity in Health - to advocate that every individual should have an equal opportunity to attain their full health potential regardless of age, gender and socio-economic status etc.
- Health Promotion - to enhance health education that "prevention is better than cure" and promote healthy living environment and lifestyles
- Primary Health Care - to strengthen primary health services to reduce the need for hospital care
- Evidence-based Approach - to identify and meet real demands by validated measures, followed by proper evaluation procedures to ensure optimum use of limited resources
- International Cooperation - to share knowledge and experiences with other Healthy Cities around the world
The Alliance for Healthy Cities (AFHC) is an international network aimed at protecting and enhancing the health of city dwellers. It was founded on October 17, 2003 at the inaugural meeting held at the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific in Manila, Philippines. The participants of the inaugural meeting were cities, national coordinators, NGOs, and academic institutions engaged in the Healthy Cities movement worldwide.
Through the network of the Alliance, members can collaborate through knowledge exchange, experience sharing, research development and capacity building programmes to get inspired for making the best use of the Healthy Cities approach. Members of the AFHC include municipal governments, national governments, NGOs, private sectors, academic institutions, and international agencies. Currently, there are about 200 full/ associate members from different countries and areas in the Western Pacific Region, including Australia, Cambodia, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines and Vietnam etc.
Global Conference of the AFHC in the Past Years
1st: Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia (12-14 October 2004)
2nd: The City of Suzhou, China (28-30 October 2006)
3rd: Ichikawa City, Japan (23-26 October 2008)
4th: Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea (26-29 October 2010)
5th: Logan City, Australia (24-27 October 2012)
6th: Hong Kong SAR, China (29 October - 1 November 2014)
7th: Wonju City, Republic of Korea (29 August - 1 September 2016 )
8th: Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia (17-20 October 2018)