04/03/2011

Sustainable Communities In Focus

A major conference is taking place in Belfast this month which will address climate change and sustainable development.

The 'Sustainable Communities Conference – Making the Global Local' is being organised by Belfast City Council in partnership with a range of statutory and voluntary agencies including Belfast Healthy Cities, Business Services Organisation, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Department of Health, the Met Office, the Public Health Agency and the University of Ulster.

The conference will be held in the City Hall next Thursday (March 10) and will bring together professionals and experts from these organisations to examine how climate change affects local communities as well as the impact it has both regionally and locally.

Chaired by economist and journalist John Simpson, speakers at the conference will include Professor Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy, City University London and Commissioner with the Sustainable Development Commission; Alex Hill, Chief Government Advisor, Scotland and Northern Ireland and Tony Juniper, Writer and Sustainability Advisor.

A number of workshops will take place during the day looking at the positive synergies between good public transport and health; emergency planning - the lessons to be learned from dealing with extreme weather events and looking ahead to future challenges as well as spatial and land use planning - setting the scene for healthy sustainable communities.

The workshops will also address topics such as fuel and food poverty; building a new sustainable economy for Northern Ireland and the role of public health professionals in dealing with climate change and sustainability.

Councillor Ian Adamson, Chairman of Belfast City Council's Health and Environmental Services Committee, said: "The Sustainable Communities Conference – Making the Local Global will raise awareness and increase understanding of climate change whilst also looking at its economic, social and environmental impacts.

"We also know that it is important for organisations in Northern Ireland to work together to address the impacts of climate change and sustainable development and this conference will be a first step towards achieving this."

Dr Carolyn Harper, Director of Public Health for Northern Ireland, commented: "A sustainable community is a healthy community. The Public Health Agency is committed to becoming a sustainable organisation. This is not only because it is the right thing to do but because it also makes economic sense by saving money and potentially creating new jobs here."

To find out more about the 'Sustainable Communities Conference- Making the Global Local', you can contact the European Unit at Belfast City Council on 028 9032 0202.

(GK)

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