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The WHO’s European Environment and Health Process (EHP) celebrates its 30th Birthday in Bonn

30 years after its establishment at the first Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in 1989, the European Environment and Health Process (EHP) celebrated its anniversary during the ninth meeting of the European Environment and Health Task Force (EHTF) on 9 and 10 December 2019 in Bonn, Germany.

The recent declaration of the Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in 2017 identified seven main areas for action to be strengthened at national level through the development of national action plans for environment and health. Despite of the important progress made over the last three decades, current priorities still reflect the regional priorities set 30 years ago in Frankfurt. This indicates that there is no room for complacency and that there is a need for additional efforts to overcome the challenges in environment and health.

The meeting of the European Environment and Health Task Force (EHTF) in Bonn reflected the evolution of the European environment and health process over the last 30 years to continue to support Member States in developing and implementing national environment and health action portfolios.

Dr. Piroska Östlin, WHO Regional Director for Europe ad interim, welcomed this process: “We should steer its work so that it remains relevant to the Member States in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The WHO Regional Office for Europe presented two new tools at the EHTF to support Member States' work in two key areas of the agenda.

Globally, air pollution is the largest single environmental health risk and a leading cause of disease and death. Quantifying the public health effects of exposure to air pollution has become critical to policy discussions. To support this important component of policy-making, WHO/Europe developed the software tool AirQ+ to calculate the health effects of exposure to air pollution, including estimates of the reduction in life expectancy.  An assessment of the status of environmental health inequalities within the countries of the European Region aims to help Member States in identifying national inequality priorities too.

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