The health impacts of environmental risk factors – inadequate water and sanitation, unsafe home and recreational environments, lack of spatial planning for physical activity, indoor and outdoor air pollution, and hazardous chemicals – are amplified by recent developments including financial constraints, broader socioeconomic and gender inequalities and more frequent extreme climate events. They pose new challenges for health systems to reduce death and disease through effective environmental health interventions.
At the Fifth Ministerial Conference, ministers of health and of the environment, key partners and experts, will assess the progress made since the adoption of the Children’s Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe (CEHAPE) in 2004. Organized by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and hosted by the Government of Italy in Parma, the Conference will renew governments’ pledges in an era of new global challenges to improve health systems’ performance and their collaboration with other sectors to ensure better environments for children’s health. As the 2008 Tallinn Charter says: “… health systems are more than health care and include disease prevention, health promotion and efforts to influence other sectors to address health concerns in their policies …”.