News

28/09/2018

Over 500 Delegates Gather in Belfast for International Healthy Cities Conference

The WHO International Healthy Cities Conference begins in Belfast next week, with more than 500 delegates from over 60 countries attending events in the Waterfront Hall and across the city. The theme of the Conference, which marks the conclusion of the current phase of work of the WHO is ‘Changing cities to change the world.’

 

This international conference takes place every 5 years and is the main gathering of the WHO Healthy Cities Global movement.  The conference last came to Belfast in 2003 and this week’s event marks the biggest gathering of WHO representatives since then. The content is a mix of plenary sessions, panel discussions, site visits to relevant projects and side events concentrating on particular issues.

 

The conference will acknowledge and celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Alma Ata declaration on Primary Healthcare and 70 years of the NHS in the UK. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the WHO European Healthy Cities network. More than 200 speakers from across the world will contribute to plenary sessions, panel discussions as well as presenting their own research and case studies which address the six themes of the conference: 

 

People

Place

Prosperity

Peace

Planet

Participation

 

Speakers and panelists from Northern Ireland include senior officials from a range of Government Departments as well as the Lord Mayor of Belfast and the Chief Medical Officer. WHO officials include Dr Piroska Östlin, Director of the Division of Policy and Governance for Health and Well-being, Dr Bente Mikkelsen, Director of the Division of Noncommunicable Diseases and Promoting Health through the Life-course and Monika Kosinska, Programme Manager, Governance for Health.  Other speakers include Dr Jonathan Patz, Director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Victor Everhardt, Vice-Mayor, City of Utrecht, Netherlands as well as representative of the offices of the four Chief Medical Officers in the UK.

 

Delegates will be welcomed to Belfast by the Northern Ireland Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Michael McBride who will be joined on the first day of the event by Gina Radford, deputy CMO in England, Catherine Calderwood, CMO Scotland, and Chris Jones, deputy CMO in Wales.

 

 Michael McBride said,

 

“I am looking forward to welcoming delegates to Belfast and to putting major public health issues under the spotlight. Belfast has been a core member of the World Health Organization Healthy Cities Network for 30 years now and that has helped keep public health on the policy agenda and ensure a partnership approach between Government, statutory and other bodies.

 

 “Together with my colleagues from across the UK we will be examining where public health and primary healthcare at a local level goes to next. That is a significant discussion through which we will address the challenges and opportunities that cities and Government face in delivering public healthcare in line with the WHO global target of ensuring universal health coverage.

 

“These important discussions will allow conversation between cities and regions across the world and I hope that local authorities and other bodies from across Northern Ireland come along and join the conversation too. While this is very much an international gathering, I hope that Northern Ireland can lead the discussion and learn from the best practice of our World Health organization colleagues.”

 

The Chief Executive of Belfast Healthy Cities, Joan Devlin says the organization is looking forward to hosting this historic event.

 

“We were delighted to be awarded the right to host the conference and we have worked tirelessly with our partners in Belfast City Council, the Belfast Trust, the Public Health Agency and NI Housing Executive, the two Universities and other partners to pull together a challenging and exciting programme. We want to make sure that every delegate leaves Belfast with a sense of our city and the advances we have made in putting health firmly on the policy agenda.

 

"Throughout the four days of the Conference we will hear from over 200 speakers in plenary sessions, panel discussions, side events and site visits. This really is a unique event and I hope look forward to our guests and local policy makers contributing to the discussion and learning from each other."

 

 

Dr Piroska Östlin, Director of the Division of Policy and Governance for Health and Well-being at the WHO Regional Office for Europe said,

 

“Cities are that place where interventions can be effective and fast, where sectors work together at the ground level, where communities are engaged, where actions and their results are close to the citizens. Cities are key partners to build a more equitable and sustainable future – one where the health of people and the planet is at the forefront of policy- and decision-making. When we build a strong movement for public health at the local level, we create momentum that can help drive us towards achieving our shared health and development goals at the national and even global level.

 

“WHO looks forward to co-hosting the International Healthy Cities Conference in Belfast, together with our partner Belfast Healthy Cities, and to bringing city leaders together to have important discussions about how we can collectively drive action.”

 

 Monika Kosinska, Programme Manager, Governance for Health, at WHO/Europe.

 

“Cities can be a vital force for change and for addressing pressing challenges such as improving air quality, increasing options for sustainable and healthy transport, addressing the growing burden of noncommunicable diseases, ensuring equity and inclusion, boosting physical activity and more.

 

“The conference gives us an opportunity to celebrate what has been achieved over 30 years of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and to look ahead to the next exciting phase of this powerful movement. Moreover, it will allow us to share experiences and best practices that will encourage cities around to the world to adopt innovative new approaches to meet these challenges.”

 

NOTE

 

The WHO International Healthy Cities Conference will take place in Belfast next week, starting on Monday 1st October. The full programme is on the conference website here https://www.healthycitiesbelfast2018.com.

 

For media queries and broadcast interview requests please contact Brendan Mulgrew, Tel 07767 393252

21/09/2018

Where next for public health? - 4 Chief Medical Offices to meet at WHO International Healthy Cities Conference
 

Representatives of the four UK Chief Medical Offices will gather in Belfast next month as part of the World Health Organization Healthy Cities Conference. Under the theme ‘Changing Cities to Change the World’, the Conference will see over 500 delegates from across more than 60 cities gathering in Belfast from 1st to 4th October. Northern Ireland Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride will formally welcome delegates to Belfast and will be joined on the first day by Gina Radford, deputy CMO in England, Catherine Calderwood, CMO Scotland, and Chris Jones, deputy CMO in Wales.

Speaking ahead of the conference Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland, said:

“I am looking forward to welcoming delegates to Belfast and to putting major public health issues under the spotlight. Belfast has been a core member of the World Health Organization Heathy Cities Network for 30 years now and that has helped keep public health on the policy agenda and ensure a partnership approach between Government, statutory and other bodies.

“Together with my colleagues from across the UK we will be examining where public health and primary healthcare at a local level goes to next. That is a significant discussion through which we will address the challenges and opportunities that cities and Government face in delivering public healthcare in line with the WHO global target of ensuring universal health coverage.

“These important discussions will allow conversation between cities and regions across the world and I hope that local authorities and other bodies from across Northern Ireland come along and join the conversation too. While this is very much an international gathering, I hope that Northern Ireland can lead the discussion and learn from the best practice of our World Health Organization colleagues.”

Joan Devlin, Chief Executive of Belfast Healthy Cities, encouraged anyone with an interest in this to register for the conference:

"We are very pleased to have the Chief Medical Officers, or deputies, from across the UK attending the conference next week. They all bring their own insights from each of their regions and it will be very beneficial to have them sharing a platform and sharing their experience.

"Throughout the four days of the Conference we will hear from over 200 speakers in plenary sessions, panel discussions, side events and site visits. This really is a unique event and I hope that as many local people join in, contribute to the discussion and learn from our international colleagues."

25/05/2018

Lord Mayor of Cork looks forward the International Healthy Cities Conference, 1st-4th October

 

On a recent visit to Belfast, the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald tells us why he is looking forward to returning to Belfast to attend the International Healthy Cities Conference 1-4 October. Cork is a designated Healthy City and Cllr Fitzgerald is a member of the European Healthy Cities Network Political Vision Group.

30/06/2019 INTERNATIONAL HEALTHY CITIES CONFERENCE 2018 KEYNOTE SPEAKER ANNOUNCED

Dr Janez Potočnik

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

International Resource PaneL

 

We are delighted to confirm that Dr Janez Potočnik, the Co-chair of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) International Resource Panel, will be a keynote speaker at our forthcoming conference. 


Dr Potočnik is a former Commissioner for Environment, and previously for Science and Research  for the European Commission. In those roles and his current position as the Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel he has played a key role in policy making on natural resources and in the transition to a circular economy. 


Dr Potočnik will deliver a keynote address during our October conference where he will focus on decoupling economic growth and environmental degradation and the circular economy. Dr Potočnik will also take part in a panel discussion during the event. 


Janez Potočnik graduated from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia in 1993. He was a researcher at the Institute of Economic Research and became the director of the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development in 1994. He was appointed Head of Negotiating Team for Accession of Slovenia to the EU in 1998. He was the Director of Government Office for European Affairs in 2000, Minister Councillor at the Office of the Prime Minister in 2001, and the designated Minister responsible for European Affairs in 2002.


During his term as the Commissioner for the Environment, he launched and pioneered on the implementation of Circular Economy and sustainability policies. His term ended on November the 1st 2014. Currently he is the Co-Chair of UNEP International Resource Panel, an active promoter of the transition to circular economy, and the adoption of sustainability policies.

 

 

30/07/2018 INTERNATIONAL HEALTHY CITIES CONFERENCE 2018 KEYNOTE SPEAKER ANNOUNCED

Dr Piroska Östlin - 30 July 2018

 

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

International Resource PaneL

 

We are delighted to announce that Dr Piroska Östlin will be joining us as a Keynote Speaker at the International Healthy Cities Conference 2018 in October.

 

Dr Piroska Östlin is the Director of the Division of Policy and Governance for Health and Well-being at the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She holds a PhD in Medical Science from the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and is Associate Professor in Public Health at the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. 

 

Dr Östlin joined WHO/Europe in 2010 as Special Adviser on Social Determinants of Health and in 2012 became Programme Manager of the Vulnerability and Health Programme. 


Dr Östlin has been coordinator of two WHO task forces (in 2004 and 2009) on Research Priorities for Equity in Health. She was also a Member of the WHO Scientific Group on Equity Analysis and Research, as well as co-chair of the Women and Gender Equity Knowledge Network of the Global WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH). 

 

Between 2001 and 2010 Dr Östlin was Member of the Board of the European Institute of Women's Health. Her former positions include Secretary of the Swedish National Public Health Commission, Research Manager and Expert in International Health at the Swedish National Institute of Public Health and Member of Board of the Nordic School of Public Health. 

 

She is the author of several peer-reviewed publications and co-editor of several books, including Gender Inequalities in Health: A Swedish Perspective, Harvard University Press, 2001, Engendering International Health; The Challenge of Equity, MIT Press, 2002, and Gender Equity in Health: The Shifting Frontiers of Evidence and Action, Routledge, 2010.

INTERNATIONAL HEALTHY CITIES 2018 PROVISIONAL DRAFT PROGRAMME NOW AVAILABLE

Full Provisional Programme now available

The World Health Organization International Healthy Cities Conference full draft programme is now available. 

With an expected 800 delegates due to arrive in the city in October, the host organization, Belfast Healthy Cities has unveiled the range of speakers, panel discussions, side events and site visits which will take place between the 1st and 4th October.

Belfast Healthy Cities Chief Executive Joan Devlin welcomed the publication of the full programme.

‘We have worked in partnership with our colleagues in the World Health Organization to put together an exciting, challenging and innovative programme which will help define the future direction of the Healthy Cities Network across Europe and beyond. We are also determined that our visitors not only participate in the plenary and parallel sessions and the panel discussions, but we want them to experience the ‘real’ Belfast and Northern Ireland so we have arranged a number of site visits to relevant projects across the community and health sectors, and will also visit one project in County Louth.

‘At the end of the conference delegates will leave having had a holistic experience of Belfast as well a stimulating conference.'

The conference ‘Changing Cities to Change the World’ breaks down to 6 central themes, People, Place, Prosperity, Peace, Planet and Participation, with plenary sessions and panel discussions featuring global experts on each topic. Speakers include Dr Janez Potočnik, Chair of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) International Resource Panel; and Dr Piroska Östlin, Director of Policy and Governance for Health and Well-being at the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe.  Senior officials from across the UK and the Republic of Ireland will also feature including the Chief and Deputy Chief Medical Officers for Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland. Northern Ireland politicians including Belfast Lord Mayor Deirdre Hargey will welcome delegates.

The site visits are linked to the main conference themes and delegates will have an opportunity to visit more than 20 local projects including the Connswater Community Greenway, The NI Regional Trauma Unit in the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre, a North Belfast Care Zone and even to have a ride on the new Belfast Glider.

‘The conference takes place on the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Healthy Cities Network and on the 40th anniversary of the Alma Mata declaration which is regarded as the establishment of public health as a policy guide, and on the 70th anniversary of the NHS. There is no better time for Belfast to host this significant international event and to map out the next phase of the Healthy Cities Network.’