A Cork City councillor has been approved to represent Ireland on a World Health Organization (WHO) political group.
The World Health Organisation Regional Director for Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge has approved Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald to represent Ireland to the WHO Political Committee to help guide the strategic direction of Phase VII of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network.
The WHO European Healthy Cities Network is over 30 years old and comprises more than 1,500 cities and municipalities, 100 of which are Flagship WHO Healthy Cities, including Cork City.
Only one candidate was permitted per country and Cllr. Fitzgerald was nominated by the Department of Health supported Irish Network of Healthy Cities and Counties and Cork City Council approved the nomination recently proposed by Cork Healthy Cities.
Over the last three days, Cllr Fitzgerald has chaired the opening and closing plenary at the WHO European Healthy Cities Annual Business Meeting and Technical Conference attended by over a thousand delegates across the world.
Cllr Fitzgerald said that he was very proud to be appointed to the group.
“As Lord Mayor of Cork, in 2018 I chaired the negotiations of the WHO Healthy Cities Copenhagen Consensus of Healthy Cities which set out the framework for Phase VII,” said Cllr. Fitzgerald.
“I am very proud to now be appointed to the Political Group for the implementation of this new phase to work with my Irish and European counterparts to highlight how cities play a crucial role in the global Covid-19 recovery. Healthy, livable cities are not simply an important element of this process, they are the key to reaching success. Without investing in healthy urban life, we will not achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and our common goal of a sustainable future.”
Cllr Fitzgerald said that cities and local government have been central to the response and will be critical to the recovery from the challenge of Covid-19.
“Public health is high on the agenda of all sectors so we must sustain this collective response. Because it is at local level that real change takes place. Communities of people, community organizations and community-based responses have been central to the pandemic response. Health really is everyone’s business."
Sixteen other political representatives from Croatia, Czechia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, Tukey and the United Kingdom will join Cllr Fitzgerald.