The Rijeka Healthy City project is a certain framework for solving problems that many European cities face, including also Rijeka, like, for instance, citizens’ aging, environmental protection, social welfare, namely anything that may influence citizens’ health and issues to which attention should be given on the occasion of decision-making at local level.

The City of Rijeka in the Healthy Cities Network

The Healthy City Programme is implemented in all six regions of the World Health Organisation including the European Region. The general goal of this global movement is to encourage and commit local authorities to improving health. Over 1,200 cities and towns from more than 30 countries are linked through national, regional, and other networks, while more advanced cities also through the WHO European Healthy Cities Network.

The City of Rijeka has been included in the WHO European Healthy Cities Network since 1998, this is a project that focusses on health and all that health defines.

Rijeka joined the European Healthy Cities Network in its third phase, which took place from 1998 to 2002. Joining the WHO European Healthy Cities Network, marked the beginning of a direct communication with the World Health Organisation, the cities included in the European Healthy Cities Network, and the promotion of innovations and changes in health policies at local level.

The activities of the project “Rijeka – Healthy City” additionally intensified in Phase IV which started in 2003 and lasted by the end of 2008. The priority topics of this phase included the promotion of healthy ageing, healthy urban development planning, physical activities and active life and the introduction of a method to assess the impact of different programmes, projects and initiatives on the health of citizens. The coordinator of the Rijeka – Healthy City project was a member of the Advisory Committee of the European Healthy Cities Network in Phase IV, which was an exceptional tribute to our City.

In Phase V, activities relating to healthy ageing promotion continued, while activities aimed at preventing alcohol and drug abuse were initiated as well as at developing a social housing model. Phasee V started in 2009 and it was completed in 2013. The City of Rijeka received a letter of commendation from the WHO for its dedication and contribution to the European Healthy Cities Network.

In Phase VI which started in 2014 and will last until 2018, the City of Rijeka, along with the other European cities included in this project phase, primarily addresses application at local level of the new European policy and strategy for health and well-being titled Health 2020. Moreover, in Phase VI, city health diplomacy will be a new theme to explore, which should open up new opportunities for working across cities internationally but also linking with the national and global public health agendas.

Project aimed at health promotion

Apart form health promotion in its local community, the Rijeka Healthy City Project also serves as a positive example for other Croatian cities, in particular those that are not included in the Croatian Healthy Cities Network. Within the project, in cooperation with the academic community, a number of applied surveys into health and health definitions were conducted, and many educational and promotional materials published, tackling various health problems and health-related behaviours.

Promotional and educational materials

At the same time, at international level, the project promotes Rijeka as a city that makes efforts to provide a healthy and quality life of its citizens, thus also contributing to a better distinctiveness of Rijeka and Croatia.


More detailed project information is available on the websites of the European Healthy Cities Network and the Croatian Healthy Cities Network.

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