- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- Asian Development Bank
Rapid development is transforming the fabric of cities and in countries unprepared for urbanization, public green spaces are often the first to disappear. The privatization of public parks in the Asia-Pacific region has had a significant effect on rising inequalities and persisting poverty, especially as these spaces are often neglected and public authorities are unable to provide basic services to those in need. The New Urban Agenda indicates that a minimum of 15% of urban space should be dedicated to open, green, quality public spaces. Interventions to increase or improve the quality of these spaces in urban planning can have a transformative effect on the lives of individuals and the community.
In addition, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including obesity, now account for the majority of health-related deaths in the region, especially among youth. Rising NCDs are undermining health gains and imposing significant financial and economic costs on Governments and households. Encouraging all residents to participate in sport is a cost-effective solution to the global epidemic of NCDs and a priority reflected in the Kazan Action Plan, a framework for sport policy recently adopted by UNESCO’s Sixth International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport, MINEPS VI.
However, sport depends on quality public spaces. If these spaces were to disappear, resident health and wellbeing would decline, community life would suffer and opportunities for interaction across different segments of society would vanish. Targeted awareness-raising campaigns supported by local media can help address these issues and provide a fulcrum for local political advocacy.
This panel seeks to examine the relationship between physical inactivity, rising Non-Communicable Diseases and the shrinking public realm in Asia and the Pacific, and how local initiatives to enhance sport and wellbeing could promote inclusion and belonging in urban spaces.