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19 September 2010 | Printer friendly

Following up from Parma: the next steps in the WHO European Environment and Health process

The sixtieth session of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Committee for Europe was held in Moscow, from 13 to 16 September 2010. As WHO’s annual meeting to discuss strategy, the 2010 meeting also saw the endorsement of the new environment and health commitments agreed on at the Parma Ministerial Conference earlier this year. HEAL and partners, have played a key role in the WHO Environment and Health process from the beginning and were present in Moscow to reiterate the urgency for action in this process, particularly in improving children’s health and helping to prevent diseases such as cancer, asthma and obesity.

At the Parma Ministerial conference, member states of the WHO European Region agreed on a new institutional framework for the Environment and Health process. This includes the the creation of a new European Environment and Health Ministerial Board with eight members, which takes the E&H work to a new level. The four representatives from the health side - France, Malta, Serbia and Slovenia - were elected in Moscow. The election of the four environment representatives will be followed in the next weeks.

HEAL welcomes the creation of the Board that will meet annually, as it has the potential to bring more political weight to pressing environment and health issues. However, we urge WHO European region countries to give civil society a clear voice through granting observer status in this new decision-making body. The exclusion of the concerns of the public, and in particular vulnerable groups, could jeopardise the validity of this valuable new body.

Read the statement from HEAL, ECO Forum

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