Influencing change

At Developing Healthy Communities, we coordinate the World Health Organisation Derry and Strabane Healthy Cities initiative, bringing health, housing, transport, education, environment and community together to collaborate on a holistic health and wellbeing approach within the district.

Why be part of the WHO Healthy Cities Network?

Health outcomes for people living in Derry and Strabane are among some of the worst in the UK. Statistics show that there is a continued lack of progress in tackling health inequalities:

Graph showing mortality rates in the Derry & Strabane areas

Graph showing cancer rates for the Derry & Strabane District compared with the rest of NI

See more health statistics for the Derry & Strabane district

Statistics based on NISRA NI Multiple Deprivation Measures (NIMDM) Nov. 2017

The latest figures show that health and wellbeing remains the only area in the local Strategic Growth Plan which has failed to progress since 2017.

Opportunity for leadership

Being part of the WHO Healthy Cities Network provides the opportunity for leadership, partnership, growth and learning in this area at a critical time.

Derry City & Strabane District has committed to Phase 7 of the World Health Organisation’s Healthy Cities Network. Derry and Strabane first joined this global network of cities in 2009. The district is one of only a handful of areas in Ireland and the UK to be leading the way through participation in this global initiative to tackle inequality and put health and wellbeing at the heart of government strategy in the district.

Erin McFeely, Chief Executive at Developing Healthy Communities, said:

This innovative approach to improving health and living conditions has been used successfully throughout the world. Developing Healthy Communities is bringing decision makers together here through the Healthy Cities programme to find new ways of solving many problems we face.”

2019-2024: Looking beyond the traditional approach

A city and district joins the WHO European Health Cities Network based on a framework that is renewed every five years. The Healthy Cities approach looks beyond statutory services and care providers as the sole means to deliver health to include a wider range of agencies and organisations that can impact on equitable health outcomes in our city and district.

Paul Cavanagh, Commissioning Lead for the Western Area for the Health and Social Care Board, commented:

“Being part of a global initiative brings distinct advantages and opportunities in terms of being able to learn and share best practice from across the world. We need to start injecting new ideas and approaches into our overall approach to health and the World Health Organisation framework is an excellent basis to build on.”

Strategic goals

The Phase VII Framework was based on the Copenhagan Consensus of Mayors which include

Three key goals

Goal 1: Fostering health and wellbeing for all and reducing health inequities

Goal 2: Leading by example nationally, regionally and globally

Goal 3: Supporting implementation of WHO strategic priorities

Key themes

  • People

  • Place

  • Participation

  • Planet

  • Peace

  • Prosperity

Where we are

In January 2019, Derry and Strabane District Council voted in favour of submitting an Expression of Interest in becoming a member of the WHO European Network of Healthy Cities in Phase VII (2019-2024). The Expression of Interest was submitted to WHO by the Mayor of the City and District and we are now working towards submitting a full application for designation.

Being part of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network offers:

  • Connections between elected representatives and leaders from statutory, private, community and academia, to focus on a holistic approach to health and wellbeing

  • A networks to share expertise and best practice locally

  • Access to international learning and networking

  • A platform to showcase local innovation and best practice

  • A political commitment to keeping health and wellbeing for all at the top of the agenda. 

    Read more