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WHO European Environment and Health Ministerial Board

Tackling air pollution, climate change and chemicals requires political action in the European Region according to members of the WHO European Environment and Health Ministerial Board (EHMB).

The EHMB brings together four ministers of health, four ministers of environment and four representatives of intergovernmental organisations. At the fifth meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania on 1 July 2014, EHMB members committed themselves to taking concrete action in the near future to address these priority issues, as outlined below:

  • Place the elimination of diseases from asbestos exposure and the implementation of the new Minamata Convention on Mercury at the core of negotiations with European countries, in line with European Member States’ commitment in 2010 to eliminate asbestos-related diseases by 2015;
  • Support the adoption of a global resolution on air quality, initiated by France, Norway and other countries, in 2015; and
  • Contribute to the WHO Conference on Health and Climate (27-29 August 2014, Geneva, Switzerland) and the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC in Paris in 2015.

EHMB members also considered stronger collaboration with partners e.g. working with the EU and its agencies is of high strategic importance to perform these tasks. In particular, they agreed to establish solid collaboration with the EU Commission, European Parliament and the countries holding the EU presidency in 2015–2017.

In addition, they laid out a plan of action to strengthen links between multilateral environmental agreements relevant to the implementation of the commitments made at the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, held in Parma, Italy in 2010. Plans for the Sixth Conference are being developed and the EHMB provided guidance during its meeting on identifying the main themes of the meeting including air pollution, climate change and chemicals.

Four EHMB members were elected at the meeting in Vilnius, including the health ministers of Croatia, Georgia, Lithuania and Spain. Dr Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, Minister of Health of Lithuania, and Mr Amir Peretz, Minister of Environmental Protection of Israel, were elected co-chairs. Croatia and Ukraine each offered to host a meeting to support the European environment and health process in 2015 and 2016.

EHMB’s sixth meeting will take place in February 2015 in Madrid, Spain.

More information available here.

Originally posted on 24 July 2014

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