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Institutional arrangements

At the Helsinki Ministerial Conference in 1994, member States requested “the WHO Regional Office for Europe alone or in cooperation with one or more of the other organizations involved” to provide the secretariat for the Process. However, over the years, WHO/Europe, with the encouragement of member States, has increasingly involved UNECE and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), for example, in the preparation of documents for the mid-term review (Haifa, Israel, 2015) and in the preparation of the Sixth Ministerial Conference.

UNECE has been involved in the institutional framework of the Process since the second Ministerial Conference, following which the Committee on Environmental Policy was mandated to nominate four representatives of the then European Environment and Health Committee, which was abolished in 2010 at the Ministerial Conference in Parma. The Committee on Environmental Policy was to receive an annual report on the implementation of the Process.

The fifth Ministerial Conference, in 2010, endorsed the current governance structure, by establishing the European Environment and Health Ministerial Board and the European Environment and Health Task Force. The European Environment and Health Ministerial Board was to serve as a political driving force for the Process. The Board is composed of eight ministers, or their high-level representatives, with four nominated by the WHO Regional Committee for Europe from the health sector and four by the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy from the environmental sector, to ensure balanced sectoral and geographical representation. The Board is accountable to the WHO Regional Committee for Europe and the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy. The secretariat for the Board is provided by the WHO/Europe.

The European Environment and Health Task Force is the lead international body for implementation of and monitoring the Process. It serves as a forum to exchange knowledge, review scientific evidence and promote specific initiatives. The Task Force can establish subsidiary ad-hoc working groups and other bodies tasked with certain matters (rule 20.2 of the Rules of Procedure of the Task Force). The mandate of the current ad-hoc working group lasts until the upcoming sixth Ministerial Conference.