Consultation on environment and health priorities and needs of newly independent states (NIS), Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 26-27 October 2009

The Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health (Parma, Italy, 2010) was an opportunity to discuss concrete action and priorities for environment and health, one of the priorities for NIS.

Aims and participants

Participants identified priorities for action and opportunities for international collaboration in NIS as an input for the Conference.

Agenda and outcomes

In particular, the consultation discussed the needs of NIS with regard to:

  • environment and health information systems;
  • water safety and access to water and sanitation;
  • climate change and capacities of health systems in NIS to implement appropriate policies and measures to protect public health;
  • implementation of national children’s environment and health action plans (CEHAPs); and
  • common environmental health issues of concern and technical support requirements.

The participants drafted a statement to be submitted to the Conference on behalf of the NIS, and proposed text for inclusion in the Conference declaration.

Specific outcomes included:

  • achievement of a common understanding on the next steps towards establishing a uniform and comparable set of indicators in NIS;
  • identification of common issues and priorities for action to increase access to and availability of safe water and sanitation, and increase the capacity to ensure access to water as part of a multisectoral response to protect health from climate change;
  • agreement on priorities and corresponding child-specific action to implement as part of the NIS’ commitment to the Children Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe (CEHAPE);
  • identification of opportunities for collaboration with neighbouring countries, international governmental organizations and other international stakeholders to achieve all these objectives.

This gathering also provided a forum for key decision-makers and stakeholders from NIS to discuss the next steps in the reform, regulation and financing of public health services, following up on a consultation held in Kyrgyzstan in November 2008.

The Consultation was hosted by the Ministry of Health of Tajikistan as leading country, with Norway for the topics addressed by the CEHAPE Regional Priority Goal 1 on water and health. It was organized by WHO/Europe and the WHO Country Office, Tajikistan. The governments of Luxemburg and Germany, WHO/Europe and the Ministry of Health of Tajikistan provided support for the workshop.