International Healthy Cities Conference

Belfast City Council

Celebrating 30 years of the Healthy Cities movement

1–4 October 2018, Belfast, United Kingdom

As well as celebrating 30 years of Healthy Cities as a network and a global movement, this Conference will focus on the 6 themes of the new political vision for the WHO European Healthy Cities Network, drafted by the Network’s Political Vision Group: people, place, participation, prosperity, planet and peace. The details of the new phase will also be announced, along with the new cohort of designated healthy cities.

Healthy Cities is a global movement working to put health high on the social, economic and political agenda of city governments. For 30 years the WHO European Healthy City Network has brought together some 100 flagship cities and approximately 30 national networks. The flagship cities interact directly with WHO/Europe, while the national networks bring together cities in a given Member State. In both cases, WHO provides strategic and technical support as well as capacity-building. Together the flagship cities and national networks cover some 1400 municipalities.

Thousands of cities worldwide are part of the Healthy Cities movement, and their diversity is one of the movement’s greatest strengths. The Conference, which takes place every 5 years, offers the chance for cities to engage with their international counterparts and benefit from the Network’s experience. The 4-day programme in Belfast will be packed with opportunities to learn from the work of healthy cities globally, bringing together politicians and key decision-makers from within cities, as well as technical experts.

Cities are ever more frequently acknowledged as centres of political, cultural and economic opportunity, and are often at the forefront of innovation to improve health and well-being. Cities also find themselves on the frontline of accountability and the Network’s strong and active leadership has shown that many health, well-being and sustainable development challenges are most effectively addressed at the local level. This Conference will give inspiration and insight through multiple examples of innovative ways to improve health and well-being.

The Network’s focus on leadership, innovation and intersectoral action has underpinned improvements in health and well-being over the past 30 years. Its multistakeholder engagement and political leadership continue to inspire others and make a difference in people’s lives. The Network’s member cities showcase multiple examples of how innovation can be used to engage the most vulnerable. Cities are the testing ground for solutions to reduce inequalities and create more inclusive, sustainable and healthy urban communities.