Member States discuss key objectives for environment and health

WHO/Dalia Lourenço

The working group views a presentation on an industrial complex in Ostrava, Czech Republic, which has been transformed into a cultural centre.

“We are well on our way to developing a consensus on priorities for the European Environment and Health Process after 2017, making this intergovernmental process fit to support the European Region in addressing environmental determinants of health in the future. The priorities will guide policymakers towards concrete action to implement the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and Health 2020, and complete progress on existing commitments,” said Dr. Srđan Matić, Coordinator at the Environment and Health Division of Policy and Governance for Health and Well-being, at WHO/Europe.

The Ad-hoc working group of the European Environment and Health Task Force (EHTF), comprising Member States, partners and stakeholders, met in Frankfurt, Germany on 26 September 2016 to take forward the drafting of outcome documents for the upcoming Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health. Participants at the meeting agreed on how to finalize the drafts that will be shared with all WHO European Member States for national consultations leading up to a meeting of the European Environment and Health Task Force on 29-30 November in Vienna, Austria.

Taking the agenda forward

Participants agreed that the greatest benefits for environment and health will result from working in partnership on air pollution, cities, chemical safety, climate change and water, sanitation and hygiene. The Ministerial Declaration will be positioned in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and anchored in the Health2020 policy framework, its values and whole-of-government and society approaches. It was also recognized that the environmental policies are among the most powerful tools for protecting and improving people’s health.

Context for the renewed European Environment and Health Agenda

The European Environment and Health Process is taking place in the context of UN system-wide strategic planning, implementation and reporting of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, in order to ensure coherent and integrated support to implementation across Member States, sectors and UN fora. This platform focuses on the Sustainable Development target 3.9 and on the other 16 Sustainable Development Goals that have the greatest potential to protect and improve health and well-being under pressure from global environmental change, including climate change, demographic changes such as longevity, migration and urbanization and emerging global economic and technological developments.

Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health

The Conference, to be held 13-15 June 2017 in Ostrava, Czech Republic, will bring together health and environment ministers and high-level representatives of WHO European Member States, partner organizations, academia and civil society. Member States are expected to adopt a Ministerial Declaration, implementation plan for its commitments and a reformed governance mechanism for the European Environment and Health Process.