Health and environment: communicating the risks

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2013, viii + 54 pages
ISBN 978 92 890 0051 2
Free of charge

Public administrations at all levels must often manage complex situations related to environmental determinants of health, often surrounded by controversy. Many factors contribute to a rapid escalation of such situations: increased sensitivity in the face of uncertain risks, uneven distribution of risks and benefits, and decreasing trust in authorities making decisions influencing public health. There is a need, in such circumstances, to assess the extent of possible effects on health and the environment and to manage information, evidence and communication on possible risks, while understanding and taking into consideration stakeholders’ opinions, interests and values.

The WHO Regional Office for Europe organized a workshop in Trento, Italy to enable participants to share experience in the management and communication of environmental risks. This report builds on the presentations and discussions from the workshop and presents a series of key messages useful to regional and local authorities, as well as to risk managers in general.