June 2017 issue – Deadline for submission: 31-12-2016

Public Health Panorama calls for the submission of papers for a special issue on "Environment and health: challenges old and new". This issue will be published in June 2017 and launched at the 6th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health. 

Environment and health: an evolving agenda

The environment is a major determinant of health, estimated to account for some 20% of all deaths in the WHO European Region. In 1989, concerned by growing evidence of the impact of hazardous environments on human health, the WHO Regional Office for Europe initiated the first "environment and health" regional process in Europe in order to address environmental determinants of health and to facilitate intersectoral policy-making.

The process focuses on well-known risk factors, such as pollution of air, water and soil by pathogenic microorganisms and toxic chemicals. It also addresses broader social and man-made determinants, such as urban environments, in which healthy activities like physical activity and active transport can be promoted; adaptation to and mitigation of systemic global and climate change; complex activities such as waste, water and sanitation management; and sustainable agriculture. Evidence has been accumulating on the many ways in which health and well-being are created or damaged by such direct and indirect factors and also on their population distribution and effects in vulnerable groups. The potential of policy interventions in many sectors for promoting good health by addressing environmental factors is becoming clearer, but more systematic knowledge is needed.

The environment and health agenda has also been shaped in recent years by the adoption of Health 2020, the policy framework of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, which calls for an all-of-government and all-of-society approach to the most pressing health challenges, including the creation of resilient communities and supportive environments. Further, the 2030 Agenda for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlines ways to address human health and its determinants in the global context of environmental and long-term sustainability.

Against this backdrop and with the aim of supporting governments at various levels, Public Health Panorama invites papers intended for practitioners and researchers, civil society and other interest groups, which address the following questions:

  • What are the most important or promising research developments in the field of environment and health, and which gaps in evidence, information and capacity should be addressed as priorities?
  • How should the environment and health domain evolve to address health inequality, environmental injustice and lack of sustainability?
  • For which factors or activities is policy action likely to result in the largest health returns?
  • What data and evidence, institutional arrangements and policy processes hamper or facilitate progress in the area?
  • What priorities are likely to emerge?
  • Which examples of good systemic management of environmental determinants of health and well-being effectively and efficiently improve the health and well-being of populations?
  • Which areas require more scientific evidence to inform policy-making in environment and health? 
  • What is the future of environment and health governance in the WHO European Region, and who are the main actors?

Guidelines for submitting papers 

We invite papers that address the questions above, describing good research and practice in environment and health in the WHO European Region and beyond. We seek papers that illustrate how work on environment and health can contribute to evidence-informed policy and to improved community resilience and sustainability. Priority will be given to papers that describe outcome-oriented approaches, successful practices, innovative solutions and lessons learnt. In particular, we seek papers that demonstrate effective and efficient systemic solutions to priorities in environmental determinants of health and well-being and achieving measurable (positive) outcomes. We welcome papers that document experience in low-resource and transitional economies and those that describe successful work in addressing equity in health. 

Manuscripts may be submitted in either English or Russian, and accepted papers will be published in both languages. The deadline for submission is 31.12.2016. Authors should follow the guidelines for submission of manuscripts to Public Health Panorama and mention this call for papers in a covering letter. All submissions will undergo peer review. For further queries, please contact panorama@euro.who.int.