Country work

WHO/Europe supports countries in risk assessment and risk management related to housing, built and urban environments. Completed projects addressed for example:

  • development of local housing and health action plans in Portugal, which helped local authorities rapidly assess priorities for action in their municipal housing stock;
  • assessment of home safety and thermal comfort challenges in Lithuania, to assist the government in developing policies for safe and health home environments.

Based on a review of the housing and health regulations in seven European countries (Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal,  and the United Kingdom), WHO/Europe formulated policy options to support European policy-makers in designing housing regulations and/or action plans. These include a better integration of health actors in building regulations, a more consistent monitoring of housing quality, and the use of incentives and fiscal penalties to ensure adequate building conditions.

Ongoing country work: Montenegro, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Environmental health risk assessment and survey tool development for Roma and marginalized settlements

Marginalized and mobile population groups such as the Roma face significant inequalities in health and often live in substandard settlements. They are hence exposed to several environmental risks. As a starting point, a survey tool is being developed to enable the assessment of the environmental health conditions of selected Roma camps and settlements in Montenegro, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. This tool includes for the first time the assessment of health aspects.

Malta: assessment of environmental health inequality  

WHO/Europe supports Malta in producing a national assessment that helps national and local authorities to better understand and more effectively target inequalities in environmental exposure. 

The inequalities under consideration mainly relate to  exposures in the housing and urban environment, associated to risk factors such as water and sanitation, dampness, crowding, thermal comfort, injuries and poisoning, access to green and recreational spaces, noise and passive tobacco smoke.