European Task Force on Environment and Health starts its activities in Bled, Slovenia, on 26–28 October 2011

The Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, held in 2010 in Parma, Italy, established the European Environment and Health Task Force (EEHTF) as the leading international body for implementation and monitoring of the European Environment and Health Process (EEHP).

The first meeting of the Task Force will elect two Co-chairs,discuss the relevant aspects of the European environment and health governance and discuss and endorse specific actions as a follow-up to the Parma Conference commitments. The Task Force comprises EEHP national focal points from Member States in the WHO European Region and representatives of international organizations participating in the Process. Focal points are leading officials from the national implementation mechanisms and structures.

Specifically, the meeting will:

  • agree on the scope and operationalization of the work of the EEHTF;
  • review the developments since the Parma Conference;
  • share experiences on intersectoral coordination and collaboration at the national level;
  • review and make recommendations on linkages and synergies between the EEHP and other relevant international processes, such as Environment for Europe and other multilateral environmental agreements relevant to health;
  • discuss the involvement of stakeholders, such as NGOs, youth, private sector and academia, who are important partners for the Process.

As a follow-up to Parma, the Task Force will discuss: 

  • priorities, framework and tools for monitoring the progress in the implementation of Parma commitments;
  • emerging and new issues relevant and amenable to support through the EEHP (e.g. energy and health, environment and noncommunicable diseases);
  • ways to amplify the impact of decisions made in Parma by linking visibly to other regional (e.g. Environment for Europe Conference in Astana, Health2020) and global processes (e.g. Rio+20, Millennium Development Goals);
  • “wicked problems” in environment and health in Europe (e.g. elimination of asbestos-related diseases). “Wicked problems” are usually beyond the capacity of any single organization to understand or respond. There is often disagreement about the causes of these problems, and a lack of certainty about the best way to tackle them. They are also often characterized by chronic policy failure.