The WHO European framework on environmental health and economics

Public policies can benefit or damage health. It is therefore important to evaluate and quantify their potential health effects, and realistically weigh these against the economic costs or benefits. In line with WHO´s "health in all policies" agenda, this pertains to policies in not only the most commonly concerned sectors of health, environment, finance/economics and transport, but also in agriculture, education, infrastructure, etc.

To this end, WHO  and key partners, such as the European Environment Agency, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, nongovernmental organizations, think-tanks and experts from European academia, have discussed and agreed on an evidence-based  strategic framework on environmental health and economics, which aims to define processes for better incorporating economic evidence into environmental health decision-making.

The key partners are reflected in the Environmental Health Economics Network (EHEN) and Advisory Group, which were established to implement the framework and for which WHO serves as secretariat.

Key elements of the strategic framework

The strategic framework consists of 3 pillars:

  • developing and sustaining the Environmental Health Economics Network (EHEN);
  • responding to the needs and influencing the actions of target audiences (such as ministries of health, environment and finance); 
  • compiling, developing and disseminating scientific evidence.
Cross-cutting activities, such as capacity building, consensus building, communication and dissemination, and monitoring and evaluation, link these three pillars.