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The Seventh Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional office for Europe, between 5 – 7 July in Budapest, gathers decision makers to help define future environment and health priorities in the European region. To increase civil society engagement and speed up action on key areas of environmental health, HEAL will participate in this key conference.

The environment has a significant influence on people’s health and well-being. Many chronic and acute diseases – such as cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, diabetes and obesity, and mental illnesses – are caused or worsened by pollution in our environment. Pollution is responsible for one in six deaths annually worldwide, with factors including air pollution, increasing heat waves, harmful exposure to chemicals and pesticides.

HEAL has been a longtime member of the WHO European Environment and Health Process, which brings together health and environment ministries across the 52 countries in the WHO European region and other stakeholders. As a representative of the non-governmental health sector in the European Environment and Health Task Force (EHTF), HEAL is working to ensure environmental and health issues are high on the political agenda in Europe. The EHTF also prepares the agenda for the Ministerial Conferences. In the run-up to the event, HEAL hosted the latest EHTF meeting in Brussels, gathering over 100 participants across member states and stakeholders. 

HEAL and representatives from its members will participate in the event to ensure voices from health, patient, environmental and other civil society groups are heard in all of its constituents. HEAL’s delegation will include the Italian member of the International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE) – ISDE Italy, the International Network on Children’s Health, Environment and Safety (INCHES), the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA) and Réseau Environnement Santé.

Member states of the WHO’s European Region are expected to adopt a Declaration of the Seventh Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, which will underline their collective commitment for healthier people and a more sustainable future.  

During the event HEAL’s Executive Director Génon Jensen will speak at a high-level panel on addressing the health effects of environmental pollution, to emphasize urgency to speed up on national and European-wide political action to make zero pollution a reality in Europe and help prevent diseases. As part of the conference, HEAL will also co-host a parallel session with the European Commission’s Directorate-General (DG) for Research and Innovation, DG Environment, and the European Environment Agency on the contribution of pan-European research collaboration to evidence-based zero pollution and health policy. The session will showcase insights and outcomes from multiple EU-funded research initiatives such as the European cluster on the health impacts of micro- and nanoplastics (CUSP), the umbrella research collaborative that also includes the POLYRISK project in which HEAL is a partner. Other European clusters that will feature in the session include the European Urban Health Cluster (UHC) and the Indoor Air Quality Cluster (IDEAL). You can register for online participation here.

Other EU-funded projects that HEAL contributes to such as the ATHLETE project, as well as the work from the wider HEAL network, will be presented at the onsite poster exhibition. As HEAL is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, it will showcase its breadth of work at a dedicated HEAL exhibition space at the conference.

Find out more about the event and watch the livestreams of the plenary sessions on the conference website. Follow HEAL on social media for live updates and insights during the conference on July 5-8th, the conference hashtag is #7MCEH. 

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