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Capacity building for multi-sectoral action for health and health equity in cities


Thursday, June 30, 2022


Multifunction Hall Room 18
World Health Organization (WHO)
Equitable urban futures
NE 178


The session, jointly hosted by WHO, UN Habitat and ISUH, will facilitate a participatory, strategic reflection on capacity development for urban health. In particular, exploring what can be achieved by strengthening capacities to address gaps in practice and policymaking for physical, mental, and social well-being in cities. The session will be structured around three key themes: 

  1. The impact of strengthening capacities in urban health. Who are the key professionals and policymakers to upskill or train if our cities are to become healthier places to live, work, and play? 
  2. The national and local-level enablers of a ‘learning city’. How can governments best contribute to developing the capacities of healthy city shapers and the organizations they work for – municipalities, NGOs, think-tanks, community-based groups and others?
  3. The content and features of an urban health training programme for cities that learn and thrive. What is the role of WHO, UN Habitat and ISUH in strengthening capacities for urban health?


Over the last few decades, WHO has supported local initiatives aimed at improving health in cities, established global partnerships of cities to allow sharing of experiences, supported global and national advocacy efforts on urban health, and contributed to building the evidence base of what works to enhance urban health. For WHO there is therefore a clear need for the work on urban health to be strengthened and prioritised so that Member States have the support they need to respond at the local level to today’s key global challenges. To increase WHO’s support to Member States to address health through action at the local level, the urban health unit is aiming to develop an organization-wide consolidated urban health capacity building programme, drawing on existing initiatives across different workstreams and organisations including ISUH and UN-Habitat. This capacity building program has been identified as a WHO organizational priority for the new 2022-2023 biennium, sits strategically with the MOU signed between WHO and UN-Habitat, and builds on ongoing work with ISUH related to setting a global urban health research agenda (2021). 


  • Identify capacity gaps of policymakers and urban practitioners to shape healthy cities  
  • Generate partnerships for building capacities in urban health
  • Select possible groups or organisations to pilot a new WHO urban health training. 
  • Generate ideas on the content of the capacity building programme
  • Consider barriers and opportunities related to the implementation of a WHO capacity building programme

Session speakers

Dr. Nathalie Roebbel
Head of Unit, Urban Health
World Health Organization (WHO)
Dr. Carlos Dora
Ms. Raphaelle Vignol
Programme Management Officer, Capacity Development
Un Habitat