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Belfast Healthy Cities

Our vision is that Belfast is recognised globally
as a healthy, equitable and sustainable city

Healthy Cities 21st Century

News Stories

Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health

The Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health was held in Ostrava, Czech Republic, 13-15 June. Organized by the World Health Organization for Europe in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the United Nations Environment Programme, the 3 day event saw 500 representatives from the 53 countries of the European Region, international and nongovernmental organisations meet to track progress and prioritise future action on environmental risks to health which culminated in the signing of the Ostrava Declaration.

There has been a noticeable increase recently in the number of news stories about children’s health, and the publication this week of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health’s (RCPCH) ‘State of child health’ report has brought into sharp focus the need to deal with this important health issue at a local level.

Belfast Healthy Cities today provided a platform for local children to give their views on the development of Child Friendly spaces in Belfast under the theme ‘Healthy Places, Healthy Children’ with Belfast Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister in attendance.

Pupils from Cranmore Integrated Primary School, Glenveagh School and St Kevin’s Primary School gathered in the Girdwood Community Hub to discuss how the physical environment around children can impact their health.

Belfast Healthy Cities Chief Executive, Joan Devlin, attended the ‘Well-being for all – equity and health’ conference organised by the City of Reykjavik and Directorate of Health, Reykjavik.  Joan was invited to give a presentation on ‘Healthy Cities – Connected for Health’ including the experience of Belfast being a healthy city across all six phases since the inception of the European Healthy Cities Network.   

On 22 February, Belfast Healthy Cities hosted an election hustings event in collaboration with the MAC, as part of the MAC Question Time series. A panel of Assembly candidates including Claire Hanna from SDLP, Pat Sheehan from Sinn Féin and Mike Nesbitt from UUP responded to questions from an audience of over 70 health sector professionals, chaired by BBC health correspondent Marie-Louise Connolly.

The challenge of how to address increasing health inequality was discussed at a seminar on 18 January. The Reducing Inequalities: Getting Results seminar took place at Queen’s University Belfast and saw more than 100 professionals across sectors come together to hear speakers from Slovenia and Manchester share their experience of tackling inequalities through direct policy action and preventative measures.

The fourth annual WHO Belfast Healthy Cities Awards has taken place with organisations being recognised for their work aimed at tackling health inequality and promoting wellbeing in Belfast. The Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Brian Kingston presented awards to winning and highly commended projects in four categories: Promoting Health Equity; Engaging for Change; Healthy Places; Healthy Living.

The ninth meeting of the World Health Organization European Healthy Cities Task Force is currently taking place in Belfast, hosted by Belfast Healthy Cities. 

The first joint meeting of UK Healthy Cities Network and National Healthy Cities and Counties of Ireland Network, took place in Belfast on Thursday 1 December.  The two networks then joined together with the Healthy Ageing Task Force for the final session of their 2 day meeting.

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A supportive built environment contributes to everyone’s health and wellbeing. Children and older people are two key groups who particularly benefit from environments that provide easy access to services and encourage active living and social interaction. Children and older people tend to spend more time in their local neighbourhoods than others, and can therefore contribute valuable knowledge and expertise of how local spaces work. Both groups, however, have specific needs that need to be taken into consideration in planning the built environment.