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The Active Well-being Initiative and Global Active City programme

FAQs from cities

FAQs from international sporting bodies

FAQs from potential funders

What is the Global Active City approach ?
This is a new worldwide programme which helps cities to motivate and enable their residents to make major, long-lasting lifestyle changes in terms of physical activity and well-being. It already involves ten cities in six continents and dozens of others, including a number of national governments, have expressed an interest in joining. Cities work with the Active Well-being Initiative over a period of time – from one to several years, to attain Global Active City status and receive the related, world-recognised Global Active City label. This proves they have satisfied independent assessors that they have created and implemented a coherent, evidence-based and successful physical activity and sport for all strategy, involving an alliance of a number of service providers. The Active Well-being Initiative provides expert guidance, and a field-tested model, to empower cities to create their own unique Global Active City strategy tailored to their particular situation and needs. The first three to five Global Active Cities are expected to be certified in autumn 2018. Ultimately the Global Active City programme is likely to involve dozens of cities over the coming years, and therefore potentially many millions of people.

What is the Active Well-being Initiative?
The Active Well-being Initiative is a unique platform designed to create and encourage international cooperation opportunities, integration and implementation strategies, established programmes and institutional models. The suite of tools are being aligned with the recommendations and guidelines of the WHO, UNESCO, IOC vision of active cities as a legacy of the Games, ILO, UN Habitat and a host of other NGOs and sporting bodies, which have all expressed a deep interest in the proposed model. Find out more at or follow the Active Well-being Initiative on Twitter @AWBInitiative

What are the benefits of being a Global Active City?
Joining the Global Active City certification pathway enables you to tap into the expertise and knowledge of over 70 specialists and researchers in urban management, health and sport science, who helped to create the Global Active City label. Your city also becomes part of a highly visible worldwide programme, which boosts its reputation to your residents, other cities and potential visitors and investors. You have access to ongoing support to develop and improve your bespoke, city-specific physical activity and sport for all strategy. Your residents are more active, more healthy and more happy, which in turn reduces the pressure on resources and health services. Additional benefits include more inclusive communities, safer neighbourhoods, more sustainable transport systems and cleaner environments.

How can my city learn more about the Global Active City programme?
As a starting point, there is a great deal of information about the Active Well-being Initiative on the AWI website, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook pages. Please email us to find out how the programme can be adapted to suit your needs. A representative or delegation from your city may attend an Introductory Workshop to learn more about the programme.

How does my city apply to become a Partner City?
If your city decides to become a Partner City, you will be asked to send a Letter of Intent signed by an official representative of the city and you will receive the Global Active City Standard and explanatory guidelines. You will be asked to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement as part of the use of the international standard.

What support is available to my city to help it become a Global Active City?
You may ask for a Diagnostic Visit; a small delegation from the GAC team will come to your city to write a high-level report of your current resources, assets, challenges and opportunities, with a few initial recommendations to guide your city on its Global Active City pathway. The report will contain a number of personalised recommendations written for your city. You may also attend a Lead Officer Workshop, delivered by a team of international experts, to gain in-depth information about the standard, together with each of the main elements of how to implement the approach and get certified. If you wish, we can refer you to external partners who can provide extra help and fieldwork.

How does my city get certified as a Global Active City?
When you are ready, we will assist you to apply formally for certification as a Global Active City. To maintain the status, you will be asked to carry out annual audits and to keep up-to-date with developments and work in other Global Active Cities by reading our reports. You will be invited to annual events with webinars, conferences, workshops and networking with other partner cities.

How much does it cost to become a Global Active City?
It is impossible to predict how much it will cost to become a Global Active City, because each city has differing needs and contexts. Some cities, for example, will already have highly developed physical activity and sport networks. Achieving Global Active City status does not necessarily bring about a net cost to the city, as the model teaches ways of getting services to work together and pool resources. An active city also puts far less pressure on local health services.

What is the Global Active City Standard?
This is the technical document that a lead officer has to read and implement with the help of a local alliance in order for a city to apply for Global Active City status. The standard was produced with the help of over 70 experts in urban management, health, events and sport science.

What requirements of the standard does my city need to comply with to receive the Global Active City label?
To be certified, cities have to prove that they have carried out effective work in a number of key areas, as described in the Global Active City Standard. These are varied, and include: appointing someone to lead a delivery team in overseeing the Global Active City work; and setting up an alliance of different public and private sector partners to work together alongside the delivery team to implement the approach. The alliance and delivery team will be expected to analyse the local environment and carry out ongoing monitoring and evaluation of local physical activity levels and of the success of Global Active City projects. They will be asked to consider a list of more than 100 good practices to see if any could be implemented for your community. They will write a local-specific physical activity and sport for all strategy, and will implement this strategy using the management system detailed by the standard. They will work closely with a network of other stakeholders with an interest in local physical activity levels. They will also ensure the provision of local centres for physical activity and local events aimed at motivating people to become regularly active. They will be given guidelines to help understand the approach, and will have access to support from the Active Well-being Initiative team.

Why can’t I just create my own active city without the AWI?
Joining the Active Well-being Initiative allows you to tap into the knowledge and experience of over 70 experts, plus a growing number of other cities, which provide information on their tried and tested ways of working. This expanding, evolving knowledge base has information and advice to fit cities of all different sizes and challenges. No city is the same, so by creating this data bank we can empower cities to create their own bespoke approach which suits their and their residents’ needs. The GAC approach provides the only structured and integrated tool adapted to the complexity and cross-sectorial nature of a city.

My city is already very active – why join?
Even when we have worked with cities with very advanced physical activity and sport programmes, we have found that there have always been areas where there could be more joined-up and efficient working between stakeholders. The beauty of our proposed solution is that it enables cities to reach out to those pockets of the population most inactive or at risk. Joining the Active Well-being Initiative gives you access to over 100 physical activity and sport for all good practices, which you may use in your city, as well as to 70 experts from various fields. The good practices are updated every year as more and more cities come on board and feed their learning and experience through their fieldwork into the system. In addition, your city could validate its good work by receiving the world-recognised Global Active City label, positioning it as a pioneer on the global stage.

What’s a Partner City?
A Partner City is a city that is working towards being certified as a Global Active City. This status is only available to cities that are committed to achieving the standard.

What’s the point of being audited?
Independent auditors will verify that you have achieved the necessary framework for the Global Active City approach – and that you are complying with the Global Active City requirements. This is what tells you, your residents, potential visitors, and other cities, that you are making a real difference to the lives of your residents through evidence-based, effective work to boost participation in physical activity and sport.

After my city achieves Global Active City status, why do I have to keep paying a fee every year?
The experience of our experts has shown that it is not enough simply to create and implement a Global Active City approach – constant monitoring and academic research is needed to ensure that the complex strategies and projects are effective and efficient, and that good practices are being followed. Knowledge about what works in the governance of physical activity and sport is constantly evolving, and staying tapped into our services allows you to benefit from new ideas and practices.

How long does it take to get certified?
This is very city-specific. Some cities come to the Active Well-being Initiative with already very highly developed physical activity and sport strategies, while others are really just starting out. On average, it takes between 6 months and two years for a city with an advanced strategy already in place to achieve certification. For others, which might need external support from one of our partner organisations to launch their strategy, it could take a bit longer.

Will it help my city to attract international sporting events?
Becoming a Global Active City will raise the profile of your city regionally, nationally, and internationally. It shows international sporting bodies that you are committed to long term improvements in physical activity and sport, and not just interested in the short-term gains of staging a major tournament.

Will it help improve the legacy of sporting events?
The Active Well-being Initiative can help you to ensure that your residents benefit from sustainable opportunities to do physical activity and sport during the pregacy and legacy of sporting events.

Will it help my city to attract grants and funding?
Having a Global Active City strategy and multi-stakeholder alliance in place allows you to pool resources in applying for grants and funding. This gives an application more strength, as potential funders can see that there is already joined-up partnership working, that funds will be allocated and spent in an efficient way, and that a city has already proved its commitment to making a tangible difference to the life opportunities and health of its residents.

Why do we need to set up an alliance?
Setting up a multi-partner alliance, led by a Global Active City lead officer, enables a city to enhance work that is already going on to promote physical activity and sport, in a joined-up way. Working together reduces duplication of effort and ensures that funding and resources are used efficiently and effectively. When there are financial and other strains on services, it eases the pressure on budgets. Physical activity and sport is the responsibility of, and brings benefits to, a long list of stakeholders in a city, from the health service and city administration to private sports clubs, transport planners and community interest groups.

How many Global Active Cities are there going to be?
Because cities pay for their involvement with the Active Well-being Initiative (or are funded by sponsors or governments), there is no limit to the number of cities that can be involved with the Active Well-being Initiative. The programme will grow in response to demand. Only if a city proves that it has satisfied independent auditors will it be awarded Global Active City status.

How can I talk directly to the lead officers of other Global Active Cities?
The Active Well-being Initiative hosts networking and knowledge sharing events for the lead officers of Global Active Cities. We are also working on an e-platform that will enable cities to share experiences and fieldwork results.

What is an Introductory Workshop?
This is an event organised by the AWI for interested cities. It provides an opportunity to learn more about the Global Active City programme, and to hear from cities that have already implemented the approach There might be opportunities to visit successful Global Active City projects.

What is a Lead Officer Workshop?
This is an education event delivered by international experts who specialise in the main components of the Global Active City label. It has been developed for the key person who will lead a city towards having a healthier, happier, active population and achieving Global Active City status.

What is a Diagnostic Visit?
A Diagnostic Visit starts with a detailed questionnaire about your city and its local context. Then experts from the Global Active City team visit your city to make an in-depth assessment of where the city is placed in terms of physical activity and sport. Additional information about the Global Active City approach will be provided by the team, and the city can explain any challenges they are facing. Following the visit, the Global Active City team will produce a report with a number of bespoke recommendations on areas of the city’s work which could be strengthened, and how the Global Active City team or its external partners can help.

Could becoming a Partner City and then a Global Active City help to raise the profile of physical activity and sport within my own city?
Becoming a Partner City and then a Global Active City will help to raise the profile of sport and physical activity in your city significantly with political leaders, key stakeholders and citizens. The resulting worldwide recognition will increase the aspirations of key decision-makers in relation to investing in sport and physical activity. The good practice taking place in your city will be highlighted around the world.

FAQs from international sporting bodies

How can the Global Active City programme be relevant to our work as an international federation?
The target group for the Active Well-being Initiative is the same as the target group for sporting bodies seeking prospective hosts for their international events: cities. The Global Active City Certification supports cities to develop holistic physical activity and sport for all strategies. International federations can therefore make use of the programme to ensure that their host cities integrate the event as part of a wider approach to promote physical activity. The Global Active City approach can also be applied to a region or be supported through national policies.

Can the Active Well-being Initiative help to improve the legacy of sporting events?
The Active Well-being Initiative can help cities provide sustainable opportunities to do physical activity and sport during the pregacy and legacy of sporting events. Sporting bodies could decide to require a city interested in hosting an event to partner with the Active Well-being Initiative in order to prove its commitment to providing long term benefits to residents.

FAQs from potential funders

What are the benefits of funding the AWI?
The Active Well-being Initiative and Global Active City Certification constitute the only worldwide venture that brings together municipalities for the promotion of sport, physical activity and well-being for all, while working towards an internationally recognised standard. Funders will contribute to the greater good and be able to promote their involvement as part of their corporate social responsibility. The AWI provides access to a global network and to a holistic approach that has proven to work in different settings.
The AWI provides the opportunity for private or charitable benefactors and governments to support work:
– At international level, by matching their organisation’s global goals to our mission to promote physical and mental health and well-being for all.
– At national and community levels, making a difference and creating a better environment for people within a particular country, region or individual city.
In future funders will be able to apply our management system to their own workplace, as we are developing a Global Active Well-being Standard, which will be applicable not only to cities, but also to organisations.

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