The Seventh Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health will define the future environment and health priorities and commitments for the WHO European Region, with a focus on addressing the health dimensions of the triple environmental crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution.
The Conference will take into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and opportunities for a healthy recovery on the path towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This will be the seventh conference in a series started in 1989 under the framework of the European Environment and Health Process (EHP).
In spite of progress achieved over the past 30 years, more than 1.4 million deaths per year in the Region are still attributable to environmental risk factors, with air pollution being the leading one. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the depth and breadth of systemic failures in preventing, recognizing and addressing the environmental root causes of zoonotic diseases, linking the pandemic to the concomitant triple environmental crisis.
This drives a need to rethink governance, policies and action for health and the environment. We need to create capacities to embrace integrated, transdisciplinary and multisectoral approaches that fully recognize and act upon these interlinkages, forging partnerships to advance action that leaves no one behind.
EuroHealthNet session: Enabling health professionals and health policymakers to become sustainability champions
EuroHealthNet has organised a parallel session which will discuss how to provide health professionals and health policy makers with the tools and resources they need to drive a green and healthy transition, both within as well as beyond health systems, contributing to broader shifts at the policy and societal level.
This would mean firstly enabling health professionals and policy-makers to advocate for sustainable change within the institutions in which they work (both public health and health-care settings as well as health authorities).
Secondly, it would mean facilitating them to move towards more sustainable practices, including: engaging in promoting health and preventing disease, encouraging self-care, minimizing wasteful activities and prioritising low-carbon alternatives.Health professionals are a trusted source of information and can help to promote behavioural change among the public towards more sustainable lifestyles (e.g. plant-based diets, active travel), clearly presenting the case for joint health and environmental benefits, scaled up for societal impact. By developing and delivering tailored education and training for health professionals and health policy-makers and providing them with the resources to speak with knowledge and confidence to colleagues, patients and the general public, we can leverage a critical stakeholder to help deliver on the needed green transition, enabling them to become sustainability champions
The session will feature speakers from the EuroHealthNet Partnership:
- Danish Committee for Health Education
- Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
- Institute of Public Health of the Republic of North Macedonia (also representing the South-eastern Europe Health Network (SEEHN))
- National Public Health Centre of Hungary
- Norwegian Directorate of Health
- University of Brighton, United Kingdom
Now it's time for action.
EuroHealthNet produced a statement, reflecting on the main outcomes of the conference. Read: 7th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health of WHO puts forward an ambitious vision. Now it’s time for action.