Panel on Physical inactivity and Rising Non-Communicable Diseases in Asia-Pacific
Organized in the context of the Ninth Session of the World Urban Forum, a panel on "Physical inactivity and Rising Non-Communicable Diseases: How creating space for sport can support the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and drive socioeconomic development in Asia-Pacific". It 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 in enhancing sport and well-being could promote inclusion and belonging in urban spaces.
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 majority of health-related deaths in the region, especially among youth . In lower-middle income countries in Asia, residents are 22 percent more likely to die prematurely due to NCDs . Those living in informal settlements are often the most at risk of adopting unhealthy habits. Encouraging all residents to participate in sport is a cost-effective solution and is 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 as it is the current trend in Asian cities, resident health and wellbeing would decline, community life would suffer and opportunities for interaction across different segments of society would vanish.
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 in enhancing sport and well-being could promote inclusion and belonging in urban spaces.