Cork – A World Health Organisation (WHO) Healthy City

Women with bras

Marion Singleton and Anne Linehan of the Niche Community Arts for Health Project with their work which is part of The Bra Project in conjunction with Breast Check pictured at the WHO Cork Healthy Cities Designation Launch at Cork City Hall

Cork City Development Board, a partnership between the local authority and local state agencies, committed to the process of Cork becoming a Healthy City, and endorsed the development of a City Health Profile for Cork, with the aim of applying for WHO Healthy City status in 2011. A Cork Healthy City Forum was established, based on a strong partnership between the community sector, Cork City Council, the Health Service Executive, and University College Cork.

A City Health Profile was completed on behalf of the Forum in line with the three core themes of Phase V Zagreb Declaration for Healthy Cities in the European Region. In January 2012, Cork City was designated a WHO Healthy City.

Healthy Cities provides a setting for Cork City to develop innovative and creative solutions to public health and health promotion. The content, organisational features and ways of working have been shaped by new WHO strategies; priority health issues of relevance and concern at the urban and local levels; lessons learned from and achievements in previous phases; new scientific evidence on the determinants of health and on the effectiveness of public health interventions; and changes in the social and political European environment.


Denise Cahill, Co-ordinator of Cork Healthy Cities. Email:



All cities in the WHO European Network, work individually and collectively to address the overarching theme and the core themes. In addition to the overarching theme of health and health equity in all policies, the current phase (Phase V) of Healthy Cities focuses on three core themes.

1. Caring and supportive environments

2. Healthy living

3. Healthy urban design

The theme of Caring and Supportive Environments includes “Age-Friendly Cities” which include the introduction of policies and holistic action plans addressing the health needs of older people that emphasize participation, empowerment, independent living, supportive and secure physical and social environments and accessible services and support.

An inter-agency Healthy Aging subgroup is currently being set up in the city to determine the needs of older adults and to develop an action plan for healthy aging in the city. The city health profile will provide the basis for the development this plan. Cork City is looking forward to working with the WHO and the Irish Network of Healthy Cities to achieve the best possible health outcomes for its older citizens. Collaboration between the Cork Health City project and COLLAGE will provide mutually beneficial opportunities for enhancing both initiatives.

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