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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

Our History

Belfast Healthy Cities was established in 1988 and was the first strategic intersectoral partnership in the city. In the same year Belfast was among the initial 15 cities to be formally designated as WHO Healthy Cities. That number now stands at 103. Belfast Healthy Cities has from its inception supported and encouraged government departments, local public health bodies and public sector organisations to consider the health impact of their policies and actions.  Addressing inequalities in health has been at the core of all our work.  We have pioneered a number of concepts across the city and region through membership of the WHO Network including integrated planning for health; healthy ageing; healthy urban planning; health impact assessment; active living; healthy places; health literacy; with many of these now mainstreamed.

Belfast Healthy Cities has always put health at the centre of all Government policy and we believe it is not simply the role of the Department of Health. Belfast is currently delivering Phase VI of the WHO programme which emphasises (1) the need to Improving health for all by reducing health inequities and (2) improving leadership and participatory governance for health.

In 2003 we hosted the WHO European International Healthy Cities Network Conference which attracted over 800 delegates from 63 countries, and that conference will return to Belfast in 2018.

From the outset we have worked with all levels of Government in Belfast and Northern Ireland and we enjoy positive and enduring partnerships with Government departments, agencies and public health bodies. A comprehensive history of the organisation including our key milestones and publications can be found in our 25th anniversary booklet, which can be accessed here.

2018 marked 30 years of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and 30 years for Belfast as a network member.  Belfast was the host to 600 delegates from 200 cities across 60 countries who attended the WHO International Healthy Cities Conference 'Changing Cities to Change the World'  which both celebrated 30 years as a Network and looked forward to the next Phase.  The Belfast Charter, which outlines the actions that cities will need to undertake in the next phase, was formally adopted at the Conference.   

Our 30 years publication is also available 'A partnership for creating a healthy, equitable and sustainable city'