Cork City hosts WHO Healthy Cities Political Committee Meeting


21st April 2023

Cork City hosts the World Health Organisation Healthy Cities Political Committee Meeting in Cork City Council on Friday April 21st.  Delegates from across the European Network of Healthy Cities will participate in person and online including France, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Greece, Spain, United Kingdom and Norway.  

‘I’m delighted to welcome our political colleagues from across Europe this evening to Council Chambers’ said Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. Deirdre Forde.   ‘Cork has been a member of this European Healthy Cities Network since 2012 and we have lots to be proud of, to celebrate and to share with colleagues across Europe’  

The meeting focusses on the future development of the network. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the political committee will discuss issues of relevance to One Health looking at cities’ roles in addressing the connection between human, environmental and animal health. 

‘The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of the complexity of the public health challenges we face today – challenges that no one city or country can address on their own: we cannot solve them in isolation. These challenges require cooperation – in other words, shared challenges require shared solutions and responses’ said Kira Fortune Regional Advisor, WHO Europe, who will attend the meeting. 

The meeting will culminate in a site visit to a local community garden in Clashduv Community Park.  The community garden established just one year ago is recognised as a best practice approach to supporting biodiversity and promoting food sovereignty.  


‘Food sovereignty in a nutshell is the right of people, communities and countries to define their own agricultural, labour, fishing, food, and land policies, which are appropriate to the unique circumstances of that area. We are keen to promote democracy within the food system at local level’ said Maria Young, Coordinator of Green Spaces for Health.  


The WHO delegation will learn about how the garden, developed through partnership between Green Spaces for Health, Cork Healthy Cities, Cork City Council Parks Department and the local community was developed on a quarter acre of public land within a public park.  The community secured funding and built a polytunnel, 18 raised beds of organic vegetables and planted 360 native trees as a hedgerow surrounding the space.  


To further promote biodiversity in the space, a pond was dug by hand by 60 volunteers with the guidance of An Taisce and is now becoming home to a variety of species.   The garden has just launched a new cookbook ‘From the Garden - A Fun Cookbook for Young Chefs’ designed by local artist Luna Fox specifically for children, with recipes by local resident chef Mandie Rekaby dedicated to produce from the garden.   For copies of the booklet, go to   The garden will host a Bio Blitz, which will be open to the public and commencing with a Dawn Chorus on Saturday April 22nd at 8am and concluding at lunchtime with a guided walk by Éanna NÍ Lamhna from RTÉ.  


For 35 years, the WHO European Healthy Cities Network has brought together 88 designated cities and over 20 national networks covering over 1300 cities in the WHO/European region. In those 3 decades, the Healthy Cities movement has been a pioneering driver of change, creating healthier urban settings that support the health and well-being of the people that use them, thus impacting the lives of around 165 million people in the region. 

This is the year of anniversaries for the WHO. As the world celebrated the 75th anniversary of the WHO, the European Healthy Cities network will also be celebrating 35 years of pioneering the Healthy Cities movement with ‘health and well-being for all’. 

‘Cork has been a designated Healthy City since 2012 and like all other cities in the network it interacts directly with WHO/Europe, which provides political, strategic and technical support and training’ said Cllr Tony Fitzgerald who will host the meeting on Friday.  ‘Our shared goal across Europe is to engage local government in promoting health for our citizens’ he continues.