European Environment and Health Process (EHP)

WHO/Andreas Alfredsson

Three decades of environment and health

In the late 1980s, European countries initiated the first ever process to eliminate the most significant environmental threats to human health. Progress towards this goal is driven by a series of ministerial conferences held every five years and coordinated by WHO/Europe.

The conferences are unique, bringing together different sectors to shape European policies and actions on environment and health. The first conference was held in Frankfurt in 1989, followed by Helsinki in 1994 and London in 1999. The Fourth conference took place in Budapest in 2004 with the theme "The future for our children".

The Fifth Conference was held in Parma, Italy, on 10-12 March 2010. The Parma Declaration is the first time-bound outcome of the environment and health process. Governments of the 53 European Member States set clear-cut targets to reduce the adverse health impact of environmental threats in the next decade.

The Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health took place in Ostrava, Czech Republic, 13-15 June 2017. The Ostrava Declaration summarizes the priorities in this area in the WHO European Region, provides tools to Member States to develop national portfolios for action, which they committed to develop by the end of 2018 and introduces new institutional arrangements for the European Environment and Health Process that should come into force in 2018. At this Conference, the Member States committed to develop national portfolios for action that should address the need to accelerate progress on health and environment and, in particular, addressing the environment-related health goals and targets of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.