In rapidly expanding cities, population growth has resulted in uncontrolled urban development, chaotic building, the erosion of green areas and the mushrooming of urban slums and low-income settlements, particularly in low-income countries. The healthy city programme aims to improve health and the environment in cities of the Region by giving priority to the upgrading of environmental health services and prioritizing interventions which improve the physical conditions in which people live and work, with the ultimate goal of achieving health for all.
The healthy cities concept is based on community participation and partnership between municipal authorities, civil society, individuals and all other stakeholders to take action to improve health, the environment and the quality of life in cities.
Programme interventions address specific issues, such as strengthening health services, improving water supplies and sanitation, reducing pollution, improving housing and focusing on the prevention of noncommunicable diseases through the promotion of healthy lifestyles. The healthy city programme currently covers a population of nearly 13 million people in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.