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Healthy Cities 21st Century

Belfast Healthy Cities address World Health Organization Regional Committee for Europe, in Budapest

Belfast Healthy Cities Chief Executive Joan Devlin is currently attending the 67th session of the Word Health Organisation Regional Committee for Europe, in Budapest. The 4 day event will examine opportunities and challenges for 21st-century public health in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and the Health 2020 policy framework and also includes progress reports on the implementation of the European action plan to reduce the harmful use of alcohol 2012–2020, the European food and nutrition action plan 2015–2020, and the European mental health action plan. 

Joan, representing Belfast and the WHO European Healthy Cities Network took part in a panel discussion entitled ‘Roadmap to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, building on the Health 2020 policy framework.’ 

As we move towards the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Healthy Cities initiative Joan highlighted the 2018 International Healthy Cities Conference which will take place in Belfast. 

“Healthy Cities was established in 1988 as a vehicle to deliver ‘Health For All’ based on the three principles which are as relevant and timely today as they were 3 decades ago.

  • Community participation
  • Intersectoral working
  • Addressing inequalities

“The key to the success of Healthy Cities has been partnership - in Belfast we have driven a partnership approach with local Government and other statutory delivery agencies which mirrors the partnership model which unites Healthy Cities across Europe and globally. Our partnership with WHO Europe and with other individual Healthy Cities has allowed us to introduce new concepts and get access to technical support in policy development and implementation. 

“It is important that we understand both the processes and the challenges within which policy makers operate, that is where we want to have influence and that his how we can ensure that health is reflected in all policies. 

Joan took full advantage of the Budapest platform to make sure the message about Belfast 2018 came across. 

“We are in full planning mode now both as the European Healthy Cities secretariat and as a Healthy City ourselves, for the International Healthy Cities conference which will take place in October 2018. We hope to see as many of the delegates that are here in Budapest in our home city next year where you will be guaranteed a warm welcome and a memorable conference.”