Belfast has been officially designated as a World Health Organization European Healthy City for the seventh phase of the programme.
Belfast’s ongoing inclusion in the Network was confirmed when Lord Mayor Councillor Kate Nicholl signed the designation certificate with Belfast Healthy Cities Interim Chair Dr Karen Casson.
The WHO Healthy Cities Network is a global collection of cities which are pledged to improve the health of citizens and reduce health inequalities, particularly among vulnerable groups.
The WHO European Healthy Cities network carries out its work in phases which last 5 years, and the priorities for the forthcoming Phase 7 period were agreed at the International Healthy Cities Conference which took place in Belfast in October 2018.
The overriding goals for the Phase 7 work are (i) Fostering health and well-being for all and reducing health inequities and (ii) Leading by example nationally, regionally and globally and (iii) Supporting implementation of WHO strategic priorities. These are supported through delivery on 6 themes; People, Place, Participation, Prosperity, Peace and Planet.
Belfast has been a member of the World Health Organization for 30 years, and in that time the city has learnt much from participating in the network of European healthy cities which includes cities from 53 countries. We have just joined a new but important sub group in WHO Europe on Urban Preparedness with representation from three BHC partners.
Lord Mayor Councillor Kate Nicholl welcomed Belfast’s inclusion in the next phase of the WHO Healthy Cities Network and said. “I’m delighted to officially sign the certificate confirming the status of Belfast as a member of the World Health Organization European Healthy Cities Phase VII programme. It is an important as ever that we all continue to work in partnership both within Northern Ireland and with our partner cities across Europe to make Belfast a healthy city for all citizens.
Belfast Healthy Cities Chief Executive Joan Devlin said being part of Phase VII WHO Network is vital for Belfast.
“Belfast has been a central part of the WHO Healthy Cities Network for more than 30 years and the city has benefited from the ongoing partnerships with other cities across Europe. Through our active involvement in Phase VII of the programme we will continue to bring new concepts to the city to influence regional and local policy that makes health and inequalities a central part of all policies.”