During the G8 Environment Ministers’ Meeting, held in Syracuse in April 2009, ministers agreed that “safeguarding human health is a fundamental objective of environmental protection and sustainable development.”
At the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in March 2010, ministers of environment and health from the pan-European region adopted the Parma Declaration, aimed at reducing the adverse health impacts of environmental threats in coming decades. Countries confirmed the need to integrate environment and health issues in all sectoral policies and measures at all levels, and highlighted the role of national and regional cooperation to meet environmental challenges such as water management and the impacts of climate change on environment and health.
The Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, held in June 2012, recognised that “water is at the core of sustainable development as it is closely linked to a number of key global challenges.” The conference also underlined the critical importance of integrating water and sanitation within the three dimensions of sustainable development, and recognised that transition to a green economy represents a key driver for sustainable development.
The High-Level Conference on Water, Climate and Health, organised by the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea and the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe, was held in Arezzo, Italy, on November 23, 2012, under the framework of the Seventh Forum on Health Risk Management and the First International Forum on Development, Environment and Health. It provided a valuable opportunity to explore critical environmental factors that endanger human health, to identify risk assessment challenges, and to discuss the main policy tools and possible joint actions.
The conference built on high-level science-policy dialogue, and provided an opportunity for national and international discussion and transboundary cooperation on environment and health as new drivers for green economy and sustainable development.
The aim of the conference was to identify future steps towards the development of joint programmes and activities to tackle key environment and health challenges such as climate change, extreme weather events, and water and land management, particularly in South Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and Central Asia.