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Belfast Healthy Cities

Our vision is to be a leader in creating
a healthy, equitable and sustainable city

Healthy Cities 21st Century

30 Years of Belfast Healthy Cities

Belfast was one of the first cities to be designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a member of the European Healthy Cities Network. Over the three decades since, Belfast Healthy Cities has through a partnership approach to policy development, introduced a number of new concepts which are now mainstream Government policy at a local and regional level.

Our focus has been on health equity and the social determinants of health; we have put health on the political and policy agenda at all levels and maintained a partnership approach to planning for public health in Belfast and across Northern Ireland. 

Through our membership of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network, we have ensured that Belfast is positioned to share our own experience and also to learn from other cities across Europe and around the world as we continue to strive for health equity and a healthier population. 

Much has been achieved but challenges remain: the gains in health for the people of Belfast are not evenly distributed across social groups and tackling socially determined inequalities requires policy makers to strengthen capacity to systemically act on the social determinants of health and reduce health inequalities. 

We will continue our work as a WHO Healthy City to ensure that Belfast leads in creating a sustainable, healthy environment for all its citizens.   

The WHO European Healthy Cities Network celebrated 30 years a network bringing the global Healthy Cities Conference to Belfast in October 2019.  

More than 500 delegates from 200 cities in 60 countries attended and, as well as enjoying key notes presentations, workshops and learning through practice sessions, participants mapped out the guiding principles of the future work of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network. The mayors and political leaders of cities in the European Region of the WHO European Region agreed the ‘Belfast Charter’ which affirms their commitment to the values and principles of the Healthy Cities movement. The Belfast Charter was signed by then Lord Mayor Cllr Deirdre Hargey.