Derry City & Strabane is a World Health Organization Healthy City and District for the third time after Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, signed the designation certificate in the Guildhall today.

The city and district was previously designated as a WHO Healthy City in Phases V and VI of the European Healthy Cities Network. Derry & Strabane first joined the WHO Healthy Cities European Network in 2009.

The city and district’s application for Healthy City status was assessed by the WHO European Healthy Cities office and two external assessors. It featured projects that addressed the six Healthy Cities themes of ‘people, planet, place, participation, peace and prosperity,’ including the Ulster University Medical School, the Zero Waste North West Nappy Library and many more.

In its summary report, the WHO notes that: “Health and well-being dimensions are very well integrated and mainstreamed in the city health development plan, starting from the vision of the City, which is ‘a thriving, prosperous and sustainable City and District with equality of opportunity for all.’”

Mayor Warke said: “I am delighted to sign the Healthy Cities designation certificate which means that we remain part of an international community committed to improving health and wellbeing for everyone. Health and wellbeing is the number one priority for so many people and it’s great to have the World Health Organization endorse the steps we’re taking across our council district to make it easier for people to live healthy lives. The experts are telling us we’re on the right track and that’s so positive to hear.”

Developing Healthy Communities manages Derry City & Strabane’s membership of the European Healthy Cities Network.

DHC Chief Executive Erin McFeely says: “Being a WHO Healthy City and District doesn’t mean that we are perfect, but it does mean that we are committed to tackling the very real challenges to health and wellbeing that we face locally. As tough as those challenges are, the Council, the community & voluntary sector, our educational institutions and our local businesses are committed to the process of making it easier for anyone to live a healthier life.

“Healthy Cities designation ensures that health and wellbeing remains at the top of the agenda. By being part of the WHO European Network of Healthy Cities, we can showcase some of the great and innovative initiatives that are supporting health and wellbeing in our local communities. We can also draw on learning and best practice from other cities.

“Now our job is to identify the emerging themes that will help us to keep building on the progress that this milestone celebrates. Things like: warm homes, clean air, active lives and healthy, sustainable food.”

Anyone interested in learning more from healthy cities around the world and thinking about how their lessons could be applied here can sign up to the Healthy Cities Community mailing list.