Delegates from across Europe are set to participate in a World Health Organisation (WHO) Healthy Cities political committee meeting which will take place in City Hall’s historic council chamber today.
WHO Healthy Cities is a global movement working to put health high on the social, economic and political agenda of local governments.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, the Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Deirdre Forde said she was delighted to welcome the delegates to Cork city.
“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,” she continued.
Today’s meeting will be hosted by the Irish WHO political representative, Fianna Fáil councillor Tony Fitzgerald.
“The director of the World Health Organisation has appointed 15 public representatives across Europe to drive the Healthy Cities agenda under a new document called,” Mr Fitzgerald explained.
“I was appointed by the WHO as the political rep for Ireland.
The meeting will focus on the future development of the Healthy Cities Network.
In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, members of the political committee will discuss issues of relevance tolooking 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,” said Kira Fortune, regional advisor at WHO Europe, who will be in attendance at the meeting.
“These challenges require cooperation – in other words, shared challenges require shared solutions and responses," she continued.
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.
The WHO delegation will hear about how the garden, developed through a 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 the 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 also just launched a new cookbookdesigned by local artist Luna Fox specifically for children, with recipes by local resident chef Mandie Rekaby.