Africa: Director-General’s Opening Remarks At the Promoting Urban Governance for Health and Wellbeing Mayors’ Meeting

Honourable Mayors, distinguished guests, dear colleagues and friends,

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening, and thank you for joining us today.

It’s my honour to welcome distinguished mayors from the cities of Bogota, Colombia; Mexico City; Khulna in Bangladesh; Douala in Cameroon; and Tunis in Tunisia.

Thank you all for your continued collaboration with WHO.

I know that many of you are also key partners in other WHO initiatives, such as the Bloomberg Healthy Cities Partnership, BreatheLife, and the Healthy Cities network.

I would also like to thank the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency for their support for healthy cities, and particularly for this project on urban governance for health and well-being.

By 2050, more than 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. The fastest urban growth will occur in low- and middle-income countries.

The leadership of mayors has a profound effect on the health and well-being of their citizens.

However, unplanned and rapid urbanization can exacerbate social disparities and inequities in accessing health services, and expose people to environmental risks.

Mayors are at the forefront of these challenges.

Global networks of city leaders such as this are a powerful tool for exchanging ideas and lessons learned as we all work to keep populations safe and healthy.