Joint action on environmental health threats discussed

Slovenian Press Agency

Meeting for the first time in Bled, Slovenia, on 26–28 October 2011, the European Environment and Health Task Force discussed proposed areas of joint action to implement the commitments agreed by European countries in the Parma Declaration on Environment and Health. Specifically, these areas relate to:

  • providing evidence to support national policy debates on energy and health;
  • adding intersectoral work on environment and health to the agenda for sustainable development;
  • bringing environment and health issues into developments in preventing noncommunicable diseases; and
  • extending work on inequalities in exposure to environment and health factors: moving beyond measuring the nature and magnitude of existing inequalities to supporting policies to fill the gaps.

The Task Force also discussed evidence and policy options from different countries on addressing persisting environment and health issues, such as ensuring access to safe water and sanitation and eliminating asbestos-related diseases.

Task Force members underlined the importance of developing effective communications to support the implementation of the Parma Declaration commitments in countries. They agreed to work more closely on developing a set of indicators to measure progress at a high-level meeting in 2014, and at the next European ministerial conference on environment and health in 2016. These indicators will also help to support the new European policy for health, Health 2020.
The meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Health of Slovenia and supported by the WHO Country Office, Slovenia.