Inaugural Environment and Health School takes place in Bonn
As the environment and health agenda and related challenges rapidly evolve in Member States of the WHO European Region, there is a permanent need to ensure that technical capacities are nurtured in all countries. Responding to this demand, the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health (ECEH) has developed the Environment and Health School, which is taking place for the first time this week at their premises in the UN Campus in Bonn, Germany.
The combination of persisting and new or emerging challenges in environment and health together with national commitments to act upon them require Member States and stakeholders to engage in cross-sectoral work, in order to address and respond to complex health determinants as well as specific risk factors. A rich repertoire of technical skills and resources, access to data and evidence, and adequate institutional arrangements are therefore essential ingredients in all countries.
Several Member States have developed significant experience in dealing with complex challenges in the environment and health arena, which can be usefully shared to learn from each other. To assist Member States, ECEH has developed diverse guidance and normative documents, for example on environmental noise and air quality; technical briefings; and tools, such as for assessing the impact of air pollution on health or the Health Economic Assessment Tool for walking and cycling. Comprehensive and flexible approaches, such as health impact assessment, offer convenient frameworks and involve important tools to deal with the broad nature of contemporary environment and health challenges.
“The Environment and Health School is part of our commitment to achieve better health and well-being for all, by supporting our Member States to strengthen their capacities to respond effectively to the diverse challenges in the realm of environment and health,” noted Piroska Östlin, WHO Regional Director for Europe ad interim, in her opening remarks.
Utilizing a variety of lesson formats and interactive sessions, the programme is designed around the priority areas identified at the Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, held in Ostrava, Czechia in 2017, and around important cross-cutting and emerging themes in the environment and health arena.