Midterm review of environment and health progress in the European Region
From 28 to 30 April a HEAL delegation participated at the mid-term review meeting of the WHO European Environment and Health Process in Haifa, Israel.
This WHO high level meeting brought together representatives of environment and health ministries of the 53 member countries of the World Health Organization Europe. The meeting critically assessed the implementation of the 2010 Parma Declaration, in which all countries committed to the first-ever, time-bound goals on environment and health to protect children.
These goals include providing safe water and sanitation, healthy and safe settings for physical activity, and environments free of tobacco smoke and toxic chemicals, as well as eliminating asbestos-related diseases.
HEAL and its member Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) participated at the meeting. Both have been involved in the Environment and Health Process since its inception, and have an official seat on the European Environment and Health Task Force, with HEAL representing the health community and WECF representing the environmental non-governmental organisations.
Left: Members of the HEAL delegation standing in front of HEAL’s poster ’’Endocrine disrupting chemicals: Turning a public health challenge into opportunities for prevention’’: HEAL Vice President Marie-Christine Dewolf, Executive Committee member Dr. Indre Butiene, and HEAL’s two Israeli members, Ruth Ostrin from the Environment and Health Fund (EHF) and Sarit Caspi-Oron from the Israel Union for Environmental Defense.
Dr. Arye Vanger, Israel Union for Environmental Defense (left in right picture) also participated in HEAL’s delegation and made an intervention on air pollution and health.
HEAL’s Vice President (left) participated in the panel on Report on progress in the implementation of the Parma Declaration on Environment and Health - What has been achieved?. She highlighted HEAL’s perspective on progress made on reducing exposure to toxic chemicals, particularly EDCs, by 2015 through elevating the science on the health impacts and potential health benefits, as well as mobilising civil society across Europe.
Lessons learnt from the experience highlight the need for great involvement from health ministries and agencies to champion cost savings and prevention efforts for reducing chronic diseases and other serious health problems linke to EDCs, as well as more urgent action to raise awareness and protect vulnerable groups such as pregnant women.
During the meeting, participants shared progress and plans in areas such as indoor and outdoor air quality, climate change, and noise, all of which are relevant and current issues for HEAL. The meeting also reviewed the governance structures and define steps to prepare for the Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health planned for 2017.
HEAL, WECF and Eco-Forum released a statement on progress made and priorities for the EEHP and Regional Priority Goals. Many NGOs endorsed the statement including HEAL members.
A series of reports, assessments and new cost burdens of disease were released during the meeting:
- Economic cost of the health impact of air pollution in Europe;
- Fact sheet on progress from Parma to Haifa;
- Improving environment and health in Europe: how far have we gotten?;
- Progress toward the elimination of asbestos-related diseases
More information on the meeting is available via the WHO website here
Last updated on 7 May 2015