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Countdown to Rio+20

Citizens around the world are looking to political decision-makers to have an ambitious outcome of the Rio+20 conference in order to tackle the urgent environment and health challenges that we face. Rio+20 is an opportunity to highlight not only the health impacts of environmental degradation and how they intersect with poverty, but also to show how moving towards a green economy and poverty eradication will coincide with huge health benefits.

Sadly, this recognition of the health dimension of Rio+20 is still lacking with decision-makers. In the first draft of the outcome document health was only marginally mentioned, even though an analysis showed that that health and well-being was the top issue in many consultation inputs from governments, UN organizations and NGOs.

The Executive Board of the WHO (World Health Organization) recently adopted a paper on Rio+20, proposing action along three lines: universal access to healthcare, obtaining health co-benefits from sustainable development policies in different sectors, and ensuring that health related indicators are included in the metrics of sustainable development.

EU Environment Ministers are also speeding up preparations: in their Council conclusions: Rio+20: Pathways to a Sustainable Future, they underlined that one of the main outcomes of the conference should be the adoption of a green economy roadmap with timetables for specific goals, objectives and actions. They have urged the European Commission to present proposals for such targets and concrete actions.

HEAL is preparing to send a health delegation to the UN conference in June, and will be highlighting and promoting the work of members and partners related to Rio+20 prior to the conference, e.g. activities by the International POPs Elimination Network IPEN, the Global Coalition for Climate Action GCCA and activities of HEAL member Women in Europe for a Common Future WECF on gender equality and sustainable development. HEAL Executive Committee Member, Andre Cicolella from Reseau Environnement Sante will also participate in Rio+20.

For further information on Rio+20 see:

Originally posted on 6 April 2012

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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 »


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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