Ministers push environment and health commitments forward
The European Environment and Health Ministerial Board agreed on how to monitor progress in reducing the adverse health impact of environmental threats across the WHO European Region. The Board met for the first time on 4–5 May 2011 in Paris, France.
Welcoming the Board members, Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, said: “Europe is looking for leadership, ownership and example setting by the countries that are leading the process. I expect your guidance … in identifying the priorities and in maintaining the focus of international action.” Ms Jakab cited the recent catastrophe in Japan to illustrate why the European environment and health process is vital to ensuring that people’s health and well-being remain central in all government policy-making.
At the meeting, ministers also established the Board’s terms of reference, programme and ways of working.
European Environment and Health Ministerial Board
At the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in March 2010, representatives of the 53 countries in the WHO European Region pledged to reduce the adverse health impact of environmental threats in the next decade. Ministers also agreed to establish the European Environment and Health Ministerial Board to keep the European environment and health process on track. The Board would identify priorities and monitor countries’ progress in acting on their pledges.
The health ministers of France, Malta, Serbia and Slovenia, and the environment ministers of Azerbaijan, Belarus, Romania and Turkey have been appointed to the Board for 2011–2012. Other members include the WHO Regional Director for Europe, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office for Europe and the European Commission.