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Adoption of Budapest Declaration leveraging action on health challenges related to climate change

At the 7th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, organised by the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (WHO/EU) early July 2023, health and environment ministers of countries of the WHO European Region adopted the Budapest Declaration. The declaration prioritizes urgent, wide-ranging action on health challenges related to climate change, environmental pollution and biodiversity loss.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, called at the conference for simultaneously addressing the root causes of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss, and preparing for their impact. Several representatives of health and environment ministries shared the insight that the costs of inaction are high, and that greater commitment is needed in order to prevent disease and ill-health.

The declaration prioritizes urgent, wide-ranging action on health challenges related to climate change, environmental pollution, biodiversity loss and land degradation and aims to accelerate the just transition towards resilient, healthy, equitable and sustainable societies. To support the capacities to fulfill commitments that were made by the signing countries of the WHO European Region (with only Russia withdrawing), the Declaration also focuses on strengthening governance, investing in human resources, and advancing knowledge and tools for action. Countries will use the “Roadmap for healthier people, a thriving planet and a sustainable future 2023–2030”, comprising a set of actions, to expedite the transitions needed to bring about sustainable communities. The Roadmap explains why urgent action is needed in a particular area, offers a list of commitments countries can consider, and suggests measures to achieve them.

To accelerate the implementation of the commitments, the European Environment and Health Process (EHP) Partnerships were launched as a new action-oriented mechanism. It aims to bring together countries and partners with a shared interest in a specific thematic area to work together on joint projects and activities. Four EHP Partnerships were launched at the Conference, including on human biomonitoring, health sector climate action synergies, healthy mobility and youth collaboration. The Partnership for Health Sector Climate Action aims to provide a regional community of practice to share approaches, experience and research as countries chart pathways and solutions to developing climate-resilient, low-carbon and environmentally sustainable health systems.

In the European policy context the declaration will support the European Green Deal, the EU Global Health Strategy, the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, the EU Farm to Fork Strategy, the EU Research and Innovation Framework Programmes Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe, the EU Regulation on serious cross-border health threats and the EU Beating Cancer Plan.

More information can be found here.

Date: 27 Jul 2023