Environmental Health

         The Regional Committee,

         Recognizing rapid economic development and its impact on the environment and health in the Region;

         Noting the magnitude of the health impact of environmental risk factors, particularly indoor and urban air pollution, unsafe water and poor sanitation;

         Observing that these environmental risks are responsible for a large portion of child mortality and ill-health in both rural and urban areas;

         Recognizing that climate change is affecting the health and lives of people in the Region, especially in Pacific island countries and areas;

         Acknowledging that there are common environmental problems that can be addressed by countries and areas through collective action;

         Recalling international declarations related to environmental health including but not limited to Agenda 21 of 1992, the United Nations Millennium Declaration of 2000, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation of 2002, Water for Life Decade for 2005-2015, and the conventions on the management of chemicals and wastes,1 climate change,2 and biodiversity,3

  1. ENCOURAGES Member States:
    (1) to strengthen human resources and institutional capacity in environmental health risk assessment and management;
    (2) to establish and strengthen, where appropriate, multisectoral coordination mechanisms and organize regular forums on environmental health;
    (3) to identify priority environmental health risks and develop national and local action plans to reduce these risks;
    (4) to increase health sector input to the implementation and monitoring of international declarations and agreements related to environmental health;
    (5) to participate actively in intercountry initiatives such as the Regional Forum on Health and Environment in ASEAN and East Asian Countries, the Framework for Action on Drinking Water Quality and Health in Pacific Island Countries, and the partnership on solid and health-care waste management in Pacific island countries and areas;
  2. REQUESTS the Regional Director:
    (1) to enhance collaboration with relevant United Nations agencies and regional partners in supporting the development of national capacities for environmental health risk assessment and management;
    (2) to increase country-level support and resources to provide guidance and assistance in environmental health;
    (3) to advocate for actions that will reduce the health impact of climate change through mitigation and adaptation;
    (4) to work closely with the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia to improve environmental health in both Regions;
    (5) to work with countries and regional partners to develop a plan of action to strengthen environmental health in the Region;
    (6) to report back to the fifty-seventh session of the Regional Committee on progress on environmental health.

1 Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade; Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants; Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.

2 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

3 Convention on Biological Diversity.

23 September 2005

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