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HEAL Newsletter - January 2009

A monthly update for the health and environment community in Europe

Editorial: 2009 will see big changes in EU leadership

With European Parliament elections in June and appointment of new Commissioners, 2009 offers an opportunity to rebuild the EU agenda. In light of the financial crises, business as usual is unthinkable as short-sighted economic goals will only again lead to an ever increasing burden on Europeans’ health. Rebuilding Europe needs a focus with a long-term vision promoting cleaner, safer environments for healthier Europeans.

One environmental roadmap for how to do this already exists. The Green 10, a group of environmental organisations working at the European level of which HEAL is a member, has developed its vision for the coming Parliament 2009-2014 (read the Green 10 document). Our own contribution to promoting this "green" manifesto will call on all political candidates to pledge "yes" to a number of commitments via an electronic campaign. HEAL is seeking assurance that they will put health first in relation to specific policy on chemicals, climate change, children’s health and several emerging issues.

Climate change will continue to dominate the political scene this year as leaders and advocates alike prepare for the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December. EU leaders must show leadership in achieving an ambitious post-Kyoto agreement. HEAL’s contribution will be putting forward the evidence on the important co-benefits to health of certain policy options and by ensuring that the voices of medical professionals are brought to the debate (read our report). Stimulated by the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, a climate change and health policy is being developed. The draft plan has the potential to bring together in a single document a consistent, inter-sectoral plan of actions for all 53 countries of the wider WHO European region.

In the wider context, intergovernmental preparations are underway for the next Pan-European Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health to be held in Italy in 2010. HEAL will call on EU environment and health ministers to renew their commitments to reducing ill-health and disease by improving environmental conditions, especially taking into consideration the special vulnerability of children and setting quantifiable targets. At a preparatory meeting with government representatives in Luxembourg this month, HEAL and partner ECO-FORUM raised key issues, such as indoor air pollution and the role of accidents on children’s health, and called for Ministers’ commitments to actions in and around schools and day-care centres (read HEAL related article and HEAL editorial on DG SANCO Healthy EU newsletter).

To see HEAL’s other environmental health priorities for 2009, see our campaign websites on chemicals, pesticides, mercury and air quality.

Last updated on 30 June 2011

About HEAL

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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Press: Elke Zander

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