Odessa to join World Health Organisation Healthy Cities Project

Remember, remember the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot - well actually at 10 am today the opposition parties in Ukraine have called for protests over the elections so maybe we’ll have a Ukrainian 5th of November to remember - or maybe not.

Anyway,  way back in April 2012, Odessa came up with a plan entitled “The Strategy for Economic and Social Development of Odessa until 2022″ - otherwise known as “Odessa 2022″.

Now finding the plan “chapter and verse” is not that easy, and if you do, then it is quite a laborious read.

In summary, including all the bits necessary to find the full document yourself should you wish to try, it states:

№ 378-01R from 25.04.2012r.

On approval of the Strategic Development Concept “Odessa - 2022″ and the strategy of economic and social development of the city of Odessa by 2022

On approval of the Strategic Development Concept

“Odessa - 2022″ and the strategy of economic and social development of the city of Odessa by 2022

According to Article 42 of the Law of Ukraine “On Local Self-Government in Ukraine” to create conditions for a dynamic socio-economic development of the city Odessa:

To prepare strategy for economic and social development of the city of Odessa by 2022 based on the concept to create 10 focus groups in areas of the city:
- Competitive city (economy, business, investments);
- Transport and business center of the Black Sea region;
- Town of quality and efficient infrastructure;
- Hospitable city (development of all types of tourism);
- Pearl of the sea (city history, cultural identity, architectural appearance);
- Environmentally prosperous city. City of healthy people;
- Smart City (modern technology management of the city);
- City of intensive capital construction;
- City of happy childhood;
- The city that a strong community that cares about each Odessite.

The coordination of focus groups put the Coordination Council, whose members will be approved by City Mayor.

Jolly good - but that was April - what has happened since?

Well, at the end of October, Professor Igor Ratovsky, the chief physician of Odessa Oblast went to Lithuania to attend the World Health Organisation’s “Healthy Cities” international conference which covers a large part of the Odessa 2022 strategy.

It appears whilst he was there he decided that Odessa should join this project - again very good - an anchor in a larger plan that provides an international audience to observe how Odessa progresses not only against the WHO plan but its own strategy as well.

I am all for policy anchors in larger strategies to avoid policy drift.

Unfortunately for others in Ukraine, Odessa is the only city to be actively involved in this WHO project and thus far, Professor Ratovsky is the only Ukrainian to have attended a “Healthy Cities” project conference - ever.

The question now, is what can be accomplished within the next 10 years with respect to the Odessa 2022 plan and what measurable effects can be gleaned from it by way of justification for it and legitimisation of the considerable expense that will be involved.

It would be wonderful to think that the entire city will reach the standards of the part I live in within the next decade - but it won’t.

However, if where I live is the “benchmark”, and with numerous politicians from all parties, TV stars, oligarchs such as Mr Berezovsky and famous comedians like Mr Jvanecky as neighbours (when here), you can imagine there are no holes in any roads, the utilities are always working and in good order, the city planning is meticulous as is the cleanliness, a noticeable absence of stray animals, a very clean beach etc. - then it will be a very simple affair to monitor how the rest of the city improves in comparison.

The redevelopment of Moldovanka would be a most obvious place to start as it is most obviously the most run down area of the city - despite being part of the city I like due to its character.

Unfortunately, despite the strategy being over a ten year period, the cost to finance such major improvements would run well into Arab oil money figures on an annual basis over that period given the wide scope of the plans and the sheer amount that needs to be done.

Nevertheless, it is better to shoot for the stars and miss than to aim for the gutter and hit it - so let’s see how they do - after all, any improvement is better than no improvement at all.

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