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International Urban and Health Congress Was Held in Bursa.


An international congress organized by Turkish Healthy Cities Association with the theme “Urban and Health” was held in Bursa on the 11-14th of December 2018.

Nearly 200 national and international participants from 87 institutions attended to Urban and Health Congress along with Turkish Healthy Cities Association Vice Chairman and Gölcük Mayor Mehmet Ellibeş, Bursa Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Alinur Aktas, mayor-members, council members, advisory board members, WHO Healthy Cities Network representatives, related managers of various institutions and organizations, academicisians and students from universities, coordinators of Turkish Healthy Cities Association, national and international experts, speakers and members of the press. Within the scope of the Congress, 22 sessions were held in three halls on urban health topics. These sessions included 1 bilateral session, 1 chairman session, and 2 experts sessions.

A short animated film prepared by Turkish Healthy Cities Association was shared with the participants prior to the opening speeches.

The Congress began with the speech of Assoc. Prof. Alpaslan Türkkan, Chairman of the organizing committee. In his speech, Türkkan expressed his happiness for presiding over such a congress. Türkkan stated that they wanted to hold an international congress as the Association and were delighted to achieve this together with devoted work and support, and thanked those who contributed.  In his speech, Türkkan pointed out the impact of changing conditions on public health and said that local governments are doing important works for urban health and that the works should be further improved.

Following Turkkan’s speech, a video of Monika Kosinska, the program manager for WHO European Healthy Cities Network, was shared with the participants. Kosinska stated in her speech that 2018 is the 30th anniversary of the Healthy Cities Movement. Stating that they celebrated this with the international conference held in Belfast in October, Kosinska said that the Urban and Health Congress of Turkish Healthy Cities Network contributed significantly to this movement. She thanked the Chairman of the Association Menderes Türel for their support and wished that their cooperation would increase.

Mehmet Ellibeş, Deputy Chairman of Turkish Healthy Cities Association, and Mayor of Gölcük thanked Menderes Türel, Chairman of Turkish Healthy Cities Association, for leading and supporting the Association’s first international congress. In his speech, Ellibeş stated that Turkish Healthy Cities Association started with 10 municipalities and that the level reached with 72 member municipalities was remarkable. He said that he was honored as a mayor at the foundation stage of the Association and that he would always support Turkish Healthy Cities Association, even if he is not in active politics, and gave the word to host Bursa Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Alinur Aktaş. In his speech, Aktaş thanked all the mayors who contributed to the efforts of the Association from its foundation to the present day. Aktaş stated that Turkish Healthy Cities Association has been trying to promote the concept of ‘Healthy Cities’ since its establishment and added that “Turkish Healthy Cities Association plays an important role encouraging development for our cities. At the heart of becoming one of the most active associations of the World Health Organization are the works carried out with great success” The opening speeches ended by the words: “As a member of the Union, we should be able to create the necessary social and physical environment for our cities with our responsibilities, and at the same time, we should be leading the way for our other municipalities to be in this developing dynamic by taking on a pioneering role in the constantly developing ‘Healthy Cities’ movement”.

The first session of the Congress program took place as a bilateral conference under the title of “Healthy Cities”. The Past, Present, and Future of Healthy Cities, in which the reasons for the start of the Healthy Cities Movement and its objectives are explained in detail, and the story of Healthy Cities movement in Turkey, were shared with participants.

During the Urban and Health Conversation Session of Mayors, Pendik Mayor Salih Kenan Şahin, Tepebaşı Mayor Ahmet Ataç, Toroslar Mayor Hamit Tuna were interviewed on urban health.

In the congress program, there were sessions on the topics of public health in cities, urban ecology and climate change, bicycle transport in cities, sample healthy urban studies of municipalities, cycling as a lifestyle, health, and urban environment, environmental management in cities and institutionalization of gender equality in local administrations. 2 expert conference sessions, adopted verbal statements sessions, sessions with the presentations of the theses supported by Turkish Healthy Cities Association, sessions with the presentations of the award-winning municipalities in the Healthy Cities Best Practice Competition, and sessions with the presentations of municipalities that support the ‘Let’s Go To School By Bicycle’ campaign were also included in the congress program.

At the closing session of the conference, information was given about the the activities carried out by the Turkish Healthy Cities Association between 2014 and 2018 with Murat Ar, director of Turkish Healthy Cities Association, the 6th phase projects, the outcomes of the Belfast Conference, Copenhagen Consensus, Belfast Charter and the transition to the WHO Healthy Cities 7th Phase period. After brief information about the congress participation and process was given by Assoc. Prof. Alpaslan Türkkan, Mehmet Ellibeş, Deputy Chairman of Turkish Healthy Cities Association and Mayor of Gölcük, thanked all participants and speakers in his closing speech. Following the closing speeches, Mehmet Ellibeş presented a certificate of appreciation to the Association member mayors, councilors and budget committee members, council members, coordinators and advisory board members for their contributions and support between 2014 and 2018.

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