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HEAL Newsflash - February 2011

What’s good for climate is good for health and the economy: Message presented to European Parliamentarians

HEAL’s recent findings on health ‘co-benefits’ from a stronger climate action was presented directly to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in a public hearing on climate change in Brussels on 28th February 2011.

The European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety will hear stakeholders’ and scientific views on "Moving beyond a 20% greenhouse gas reduction target in the EU" , in preparation for a report by Dutch MEP Bas Eickhout (Greens, Netherlands), which draws strongly on our joint report Acting NOW for better health: A 30% reduction target for EU climate policy. Read more...

30%: Why Europe should strengthen its 2020 climate action

Enhanced climate action in Europe is imperative for generating jobs, growth, energy and climate security and improving health states a new report from the Climate Action Network Europe.

The report, 30% Why Europe should strengthen its 2020 climate action, concludes that an EU move to a 30% greenhouse gas reduction target by 2020 is now imperative for Europe’s future. One of the key findings draws on information from HEAL’s joint report, Acting NOW for better health: A 30% reduction target for EU climate policy report, which highlighted the additional health benefits from moving from a 20% to a 30% target. Read the CAN report.

Copenhagen to Durban and beyond: NGOs promote health and partner for future action

On the 10th February groups from all over the world met to share expertise about how the momentum from Copenhagen to Cancun is being carried forward into 2011. During the teleconference, HEAL’s Climate and Energy Policy Advisor Pendo Maro gave a presentation on the benefits to health from a stronger climate agreement in Europe.

The conference, organised by HEAL’s US partner the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE), sought to establish plans for collaborative activities promoting health in the run up to COP17 in Durban, South Africa and beyond. It is important for groups to keep up the pressure and ensure that governments take action to protect citizens from the impacts of climate change. Read more…

Registration opens for the third Paris Appeal International Congress

The third Paris Appeal International Congress, organised by HEAL member ARTAC in partnership with HEAL and the International Society for Doctors for the Environment (ISDE), will be held in Paris on the 12 -13th April. This year the focus will be on children’s environment and health. Following the conference, there will be a three-day training course on environmental medicine open to medical professionals. Register now.

Week Without Pesticides, 20th - 30th March 2011

Week Without Pesticides will start on the 20th March. The initiative aims to raise awareness of the risks to health and the environment poised by pesticides and to highlight alternative solutions. With the continuing success of the original French campaign in 2006, the movement expands to new countries throughout Europe every year. There are now actions and events taking place across Belgium, Macedonia, Hungary as well as parts of Africa, including Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania and Togo to highlight the numerous alternatives to pesticide use. Find out what is happening in your country.

Six steps to pesticide reduction: a guide for communities

In preparation for the Week Without Pesticides, HEAL has launched a guide to pesticide reduction. The toolkit is aimed at community groups and individuals wishing to reduce pesticide use in their communities and local areas. HEAL has drawn on experience of international pesticides and health campaigns to create a 6 step guide packed full of examples and model campaign materials. Download a copy.

Health groups, companies and local businesses back a green energy future for Europe

Two hundred local businesses and organisations, national and European politicians, and companies from a variety of sectors, including engineering, energy supplies and healthcare, have lent their support to a 100% renewable energy vision for Europe in 2050. As the EU sets out its own vision for the future of energy in Europe (2050 vision), the signatories of the 100% renewables declaration are calling on Europe to “lead by example”. In the joint press release, HEAL emphasised the positive impacts to health from a greener economy, stating that cleaner sources of energy mean cleaner air with special benefits for those with asthma or other respiratory or cardiac conditions. Read more…

Global call for MEPs to protect transparency of the European Union

HEAL joined over 131 non-governmental organisations along with 56 investigative journalists, academics, and access to information campaigners from 48 countries in Europe and beyond to call on Members of the European Parliament to act urgently to protect EU transparency rules. The call came as the European Union engages in a review of its access to documents regulation that could result in freedom of information being severely curtailed across Europe. Read more.

European Union starts deliberations on Healthy Ageing

The European Commission’s directorate of Health & Consumer Affairs (DG SANCO) has held a consultation with the public on active and healthy ageing, as a first step to give this issue more prominence. HEAL has submitted a response calling for initiatives on healthy ageing to consider environmental factors as determinants of health. It is imperative that ’prevention actions’ to promote healthy ageing include reduction and elimination of environmental contaminants, as well as the current measures of screening and early detection. For more information on HEAL’s response please contact Lisette@env-health.org, or on the consultation, click here

Fracturing for shale gas in Europe: the environmental health impacts

In Europe, discussions over the introduction of the shale fracturing for natural gas are increasing. This controversial method of extracting gas from shale has been met with concern NGOs due to the potential dangers it poses to the environment and people’s health. While the EU Heads of State welcome shale gas and oil extraction in their conclusions on the future of EU energy policy (EU Energy Summit on 4 February), France is the first country to act on the growing concerns; placing work on hold until the end of June, when the assessment of economic, social and environmental impact is completed.

To address the issues, HEAL has created an e-working group for organisations involved in health and energy/climate change, chemicals, water quality and natural habitat dimensions of shale fracturing. The working group will serve as a platform to exchange information between countries and EU-level responses. For more information, please contact Lisette@env-health.org. To find out more about the health impacts, see here.

HEAL IN THE MEDIA

It has been a very productive month for HEAL, as political pressure begins to mount in many of our key policy areas. We have continued to receive good media coverage for our climate and health work– in particular on the back of the recent Acting NOW for better health: A 30% target for EU climate policy. Our air quality joint press release, calling on the Commission to revise the EU’s air pollution rules and put people’s health and the environment first, was featured in the European Voice. Our "Pesticides and Cancer" project with Generations Future, has continued to receive coverage and was featured on Slovenian public TV. For the full media coverage, click here

NEWS FROM OUR MEMBERS

Hope for allergy sufferers as a new research programme begins

HEAL member, the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients Associations (EFA), has joined a new EU research programme to investigate causes of allergies. The MeDALL project (Mechanisms of the Development of Allergy), funded by the EU Research Framework Programme FP7, will investigate the causes of a wide range of allergies. The results should help to provide better answers as to why and how allergies develop as well as target prevention and treatment opportunities. Read more…

Calling for health equality in the EU – EPHA needs your signatures!

Civil society is coming together to call for health equity across the EU. The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) has launched a Charter for Health Equity to ensure the issue is kept on the agenda and to call for action now. The social determinants of health - such as environment, climate and food - all have huge potential to reduce health inequalities and benefit the whole society. Despite the EU’s growing focus on health inequalities, the issue remains very much in the domain of the health community and concrete EU actions are yet to be defined. EPHA is calling on all members of civil society to sign the charter. Read more…

EVENTS

Final Aphekom meeting on air quality and health, 2 March 2011

The final meeting of the Aphekom air quality and health research project will be held on the 2nd March in Paris, France. The first session will see project leaders present key findings from Aphekom’s nearly three years of work on the impact of air pollution on health in Europe. During the second session attendees will have the opportunity to put questions to Aphekom’s scientists and discuss issues on urban air pollution in Europe. Read more... HEAL Policy Manager, Anne Stauffer, will discuss with other stakeholders how the Aphekom results can contribute to environmental and public-health policy and action moving forward in Europe.

WHO International Conference on Environmental and Occupational Determinants of Cancer: Interventions for Primary Prevention, 17-18 March HEAL’s Toxic Policy Advisor, Lisette van Vliet, will be participating in a round table discussion during the World Health Organization’s first international conference on the primary prevention of cancer through environmental and occupational interventions. The Conference will take place on 17-18 March in Asturias, Spain. Read more…

Last updated on 19 May 2011

About HEAL

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »

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HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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