Youth in the European Environment and Health Process (EHP): reflections from the Mid-term Review (MTR)

WHO/Ministry of Health, Israel/Ministry of Environmental Protection, Israel

The call for meaningful youth participation in the European Environment and Health Process (EHP) in the Parma Declaration led youth organizations from several Member States to form the European Environment and Health Youth Coalition (EEHYC) with a mission to support, legitimize and give visibility to young people's participation in the EHP.

At the EHP Mid-term Review (MTR) in Haifa, Israel, 28–30 April 2015, EEHYC highlighted achievements, including projects supporting the WASH programme of the Protocol on Water and Health in five countries; actively engaging 5 000 youth in a "City in motion: people first" video competition through THE PEP; and becoming a member of the Global Partnership for Youth in the post-2015 development agenda. In preparation for the MTR, EEHYC created a video about their activities and engaged with Green Course, an Israeli youth organization empowering young leaders to identify community needs, lead change and take action.
EEHYC highlighted the need to move young people's role from dialog partner to dialog and action partner in the EHP. They took stock from the policy survey in the MTR report which showed that of the 28 responding Member States, 60% reported involving youth organizations in the environment and health process; 50% reported the existence of a policy to support the involvement of youth in the environment and health process; and only three of the countries indicated they introduced new policies to support the Parma commitment to engage youth.
Putting forward solutions for improvement, the EEHYC called for stakeholder collaboration to establish national youth coalitions in all 53 WHO European region Member States; early involvement in planning the sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, specifically in the preparation of youth participation; more framework for participation in EHP through internships, youth-led research roundtables and decision-making simulations; and material and human resources.