Consultation on environment and health priorities and needs of south-eastern European (SEE) countries, Belgrade, Serbia, 24-25 September 2009

Focal points in the SEE Health Network and for environment and health identified priorities for action and opportunities for international collaboration in SEE countries as an input for the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health.

Chemicals and heavy metals, water and sanitation, food safety and waste management were recognized as priority environmental threats for health in SEE, aggravated by social, economic and environmental inequalities. The meeting called for strengthening, implementing and enforcing policy tools focused on health (in particular regulatory measures, data, information and intelligence, and adequate recognition and financing of health and environment activities). Supportive actions to prevent damages and protect health from climate change were identified. Participants also expressed SEE countries’ willingness for stronger collaboration and transfer of experience with other countries in Europe.

The meeting drafted a statement to be submitted to the Conference on behalf of SEE countries and proposed relevant text for inclusion in the Conference declaration.

The consultation was organized by Montenegro as the SEE Health Network leading country for the Environmental Health Project, WHO/Europe and the WHO Country Office, Serbia, and was hosted by the Ministry of Health of Serbia. The governments of Luxemburg and Germany, WHO/Europe and the Ministry of Health of Serbia provided support for the workshop.