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3.1 Environment (WHO Europe)
Environment and Health

Purpose:

The purpose is to provide data, information and analytical synthesis on the interrelationships between environment and public health issues (EH). This process allows monitoring of EH trends. Progress with regard to the implementation of EH policies is quantified and this generates the evidence-base to support EH decision-making in countries of the WHO European Region.

Ongoing methodological work:

• Final stages of the development of methodologies for new exposure and health effect indicators that will facilitate the efficient implementation of time-bound international commitments to protect children from the effects of environmental factors outlined at the 5th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health (Parma, Italy, 2010).

• Development of standardized data collection, processing and analysis methodologies for new surveillance programmes to assess exposure to environmental factors in children's facilities and pre-natal exposures to developmental toxicants.

• Development of a new IT platform and database for the European Environment and Health Information System (ENHIS) to improve the presentation of indicator-based information on environmental exposures, health effects and EH oriented policy actions for decision-making and EH professionals.

• Assistance to selected Member States in the development and implementation of national EH information systems.

Priority objectives beyond 2012:

• Methodological support to Member States in the implementation of new EH data collection programmes for monitoring the implementation of international commitments to protect children from EH risks.
• Further development of ENHIS databases to enable storage and pooled analysis of raw EH data from Member States.
• Further development of ENHIS indicators on exposure, to support burden of disease analysis.
• Incorporation of EH inequality measures in ENHIS indicators.

New work to be undertaken in 2012:

• Implementation of a new data base and IT platform for the European Environmental Health Information System (ENHIS), integrated into the IT infrastructure of the WHO Regional Office for Europe.
• Updating data for the existing indicators of exposure and health effects in ENHIS.
• Conducting new EH policy surveys in Member States to assess the EH policy situation in relation to new international commitments adopted at the 5th Ministerial Conference (Parma, 2010).
• Pilot testing and implementation in ENHIS of new exposure and health effect indicators for monitoring of the implementation of time-bound international commitments to protect children from the effects of environmental factors.
• Pilot testing of new indicators related to the impacts of climate change on health and the environment and incorporation of these indicators into the European Environment and Health Information System (ENHIS). (The development of indicator methodologies had been conducted under a contract between the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the European Commission/DG Sanco).

Meetings planned for 2012:

• Technical meeting on the implementation of new ENHIS indicators for monitoring Parma conference commitments.
• Meeting of the European Environment and Health Task Force (a policy governing body of the European EH Process) on monitoring of Parma commitments and the use of new proposed indicators.