Parks for the Planet Forum: Nature, Health and a New Urban Generation

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May 17, 2016
by Patrick Wilson
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Parks for the Planet Forum: Nature, Health and a New Urban Generation

Report from the inaugural session of the Parks for the Planet Forum now online

The report from the inaugural session of the Parks for the Planet Forum – Nature, Health and a New Urban Generation – is now available online to read, download and share.

The world is seeing an extraordinary and unprecedented increase in urbanization, with 70% of the global population predicted to be living in cities by 2050; an increase from 3.5 billion people today to 7 billion in just 35 years. At the same time, global levels of noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, cancers, respiratory, and heart diseases are soaring, particularly in towns and cities, due to the change in diet and lack of exercise that many people experience. Coupled with this, nature is being squeezed out of urban areas, despite the mounting body of evidence that shows nature has a crucial role in tackling the decline of city-dwellers’ health and wellbeing. These health and urbanization trends, combined with an increased disconnection between humanity and nature, affect not just people’s physical health, but their mental and spiritual health too.

The November 2015 session followed on from these issues that were raised in The Promise of Sydney at the IUCN World Parks Congress in 2014.

The Session developed a call to action on the global challenge and harness emerging opportunities to connect nature and health for the benefit of new urban generations; formulated a Salzburg Statement that identified the key measures that need to be put in place; and aimed to catalyze leadership groups to take the global agenda forward.

The Forum brought together 37 leaders from 20 countries across public health, the environment, urban planning and more to share best practices, develop practical actions to leverage transformational change, and identify opportunities to take the lead in putting parks at the heart of solutions to creating healthy, productive and livable cities fit for the future.

The report written by Liz Barling discussions from the various plenary sessions on reconnecting with nature and catalyzing protected green and nature spaces in increasingly urbanized cities as well as recommendations from the working groups. Also included are several Fellow interviews on their work to promote nature projects and information on projects brought to fruition after the session.

Download the report as a PDF