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European Environment and Health Process

European countries initiated the European Environment and Health Process the in the late 1980s. The purpose of the Process was to eliminate the most significant environmental threats to human health. Progress towards this goal is driven by Ministerial Conferences held approximately every five years. The Conferences bring together different sectors, mainly the environment and health ones. The first Conference was held in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1989. The following conferences took place in Helsinki in 1994; London in 1999; Budapest in 2004; and Parma, Italy, in 2010. The sixth Conference is scheduled to take place in June 2017.

UNECE has been involved in the institutional framework of the Process since the second Ministerial Conference. At the third Ministerial Conference, in 1999, the links between the Process and UNECE became tighter as, during the Ministerial Conference, member States adopted the Protocol on Water and Health to the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention). The Protocol’s secretariat is jointly provided by UNECE and WHO/Regional Office for Europe.

In addition, the third Conference adopted the London Charter on Transport, Environment and Health. The Charter was based on the Vienna Declaration on Transport and Environment (1997), adopted under the auspices of the UNECE. The Charter was the basis for the establishment of the Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme (THE PEP), which is serviced by a tripartite secretariat represented by WHO/Europe and the UNECE Environment and Sustainable Transport Divisions. The same document also recommended cooperation between the European Environment and Health Process and the Environment for Europe Ministerial Process.