The World Health Organization hosted the Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in Ostrava from 13 to 15 June 2017. The conference brought together 500 delegates and observers from 53 member countries from the WHO European Region, as well as representatives from Canada, the Philippines and the U.S. and 15 international and non-governmental organisations. In three days, 9 plenary sessions and 16 side events took place addressing issues such as air quality, chemical safety, climate change, waste, water and sanitation services, and life in cities. The vital link between the quality of the environment and the health of the population was repeatedly demonstrated with, for the first time, a strong emphasis on the role of cities and regions in achieving sustainable development and implementing international goals and targets of Health 2020 and the 2030 Agenda (SDGs).
One of the topics was cooperation with WHO Healthy Cities and Regions. As part of the introductory seminar at the New Town Hall in Ostrava, a panel discussion of the representatives of European Cities and Regions was held on the resilience of communities and the responses to major factors and trends such as ageing of the population, migration, a heightened risk of extreme weather events, air pollution, waste, noise pollution, uneven distribution of resources, the role of local economies, socioeconomic inequalities and many other challenges which are to be tackled by politicians at local level. In addition to the hosting City of Ostrava and the Moravian-Silesian Region, the Czech Republic was represented by Healthy Cities of the Czech Republic. Other panellists included the representatives from Norway, Turkey, Italy and Belgium.
The participants in the important ministerial conference reviewed the progress achieved in the field of the environment and health in the WHO European Region, and by signing the Ostrava Declaration they committed themselves to joint action. The networks of WHO Healthy Cities and Regions jointly expressed their full support for the Declaration and attached a complementary statement on the active role of municipalities and regions.
For more information about the Sixth WHO Ministerial Conference, click here.