Tue, Nov 09, 2010 - Page 2 News List

WHO declares four areas in Taiwan as ‘safe communities’

Staff Writer, with CNA

Four communities in Taiwan have been recognized as “safe communities” by a WHO-related body, Bureau of Health Promotion -Director-General Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) said yesterday.

Chiou said the achievement represented progress in promoting Taiwan internationally.

The four communities are in Hualien and Yilan counties and Tainan City, and will be joined by five districts in Taipei — Wenshan (文山), Nangang (南港), Datong (大同), Xinyi (信義) and Neihu (內湖) — which will be awarded their certifications tomorrow.

These communities have been working toward the “safe community” ideal for many years, said Chiou, while acknowledging the efforts of each community in seeking approval from the WHO’s Collaborating Center on Community Safety Promotion (CCCSP).

“It is difficult to become a member of the safe community,” Chiou said, referring to the rigid requirements set out by the CCCSP.

The evaluation criteria take into account the founding of a diverse group that pushes for sustainable development programs targeting the needs of residents. The candidate community is also assessed in terms of the frequency of accidental injuries and ongoing participation in safe community network activities.

Since the government does not compile statistics on accidental injuries, Chiou said, communities undergoing the certification process must partner with local hospitals, schools and other institutions to obtain relevant information. They are also required to think of ways to improve environmental safety and reduce accidents.

One case she cited as an example is Suao Township (蘇澳) in Yilan County, which earned certification by erecting fences along dangerous sections of coastline, preventing people from falling into the sea.

To date, there are 222 CCCSP communities worldwide, 18 of which are in Taiwan. Recognized communities can apply for recertification after five years, which is an incentive for the communities to continue their development projects.

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