Salzburg Global Vice President Clare Shine speaks at World Congress on Public Health

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Apr 04, 2017
by Oscar Tollast
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Salzburg Global Vice President Clare Shine speaks at World Congress on Public Health

Clare Shine shares call to action from Parks for Planet Forum to embed nature in strategies for human health and wellbeing Salzburg Global Vice President Clare Shine (left) at the 15th World Congress on Public Health

Salzburg Global Vice President Clare Shine traveled to Melbourne, Australia this month to chair the World Leaders Dialogue on “Nature is good medicine” at the 15th World Congress on Public Health.

Keynote speakers at the Congress were Dr. Maria Neira, Director of Public Health and Environment at the World Health Organization, and IUCN President Zhang Xinsheng. The panel featured Cristina Romanelli, Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity; Daniel Buss from Pan American Health Organization; Matthew Jackson, CEO of Parks Victoria; and Kevin Lafferty from the Forestry Commission Scotland. Jerril Rechter, CEO of VicHealth, introduced the debate that was formally closed by Paul Smith, Deputy Secretary, Victoria State Government.

The World Congress on Public Health is held every two to four years by the World Federation of Public Health Associations, attracting around 4,000 delegates. This international forum for exchange of knowledge and experience focuses on critical challenges such as non-communicable diseases, mental health, the built environment, health equity and vulnerable groups, climate change impacts and optimizing health across the Sustainable Development Goals.

Clare Shine used the platform to share recommendations by participants from three Salzburg Global sessions: Early Childhood Development and Education (2015); Nature, Health and a New Urban Generation (2015); and The Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play (2017).

In Melbourne, World Leaders Dialogue panelists discussed how the positive impacts of biodiversity and ecosystem services for human health and wellbeing could be better understood and measured to drive policy and practice and avoid future health costs. They identified ways for leading institutions and change makers to champion new strategies and alliances linking health and environment in a rapidly urbanizing world.

At Salzburg Global’s recent session on The Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play, participants considered key questions to advance high-level debate in Melbourne. They were guided by two co-chairs: David Anthony, UNICEF Director of Policy and Analytics, and Kathy MacKinnon, Chair, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas

The Salzburg group used the lens of young children to explore the pivotal role of safe outdoor play and accessible green spaces for children’s physical, mental and social development and broader family and community cohesion. Participants stressed this was a fundamental equity issue and identified practical ways for the health, environment and urban planning sectors to better integrate health across local and national policies and investments. They highlighted co-benefits and cost savings that could be generated by landscape connectivity and nature-based solutions to promote healthy urban ecosystems.

On the final day in Salzburg, participants shared principles and ideas which will feature in the vision of an upcoming Salzburg Statement. They recognized that country settings and opportunities vary widely but called for nature to be brought into cities and everyday spaces so that children could discover and freely interact with nature on a regular basis. The “city should grow with the child,” as one participant summed up, creating new partnerships and investments to enhance nature.

The Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play was the third program of the Parks for the Planet Forum, a ten-year partnership with IUCN for transformative leadership and action to implement The Promise of Sydney and the Sustainable Development Goals.


The Salzburg Global program The Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play is part of the multi-year Parks for the Planet Forum, supported by partners including IUCN and the Huffington Foundation. The session was supported by Parks Canada and Korea National Park Service and sponsored by the W.K.Kellogg Foundation. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/574. You can follow all the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSparks

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