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Environment and Health Action Plan 2004-2010

To improve the health of European citizens we need to know exactly what impact environmental damage has on human health. This Action Plan is designed to provide the European Union (EU) with reliable information on that impact and to step up cooperation between stakeholders in the environment, health and research fields.

ACT

Communication of 9 June 2004 from the Commission: "The European Environment & Health Action Plan 2004-2010" [COM(2004) 416 - Official Journal C 49, 28.02.2006].

SUMMARY

Covering the first cycle of the European Environment and Health Strategy, i.e. the period from 2004 to 2010, this Action Plan aims, on the one hand, to provide the EU with the scientifically grounded information needed to help Member States reduce the adverse health impacts of certain environmental factors and, on the other hand, to step up cooperation between stakeholders in the environment, health and research fields, whether these are public authorities in Member States, European bodies or institutions, or civil society.

In line with the European Environment and Health Strategy, the Action Plan focuses particularly on the links between environmental factors and respiratory diseases, neuro-developmental disorders, cancer and endocrine disrupting effects.

The Action Plan is based on three main themes, each covering a number of actions:

  • improving the information chain by developing integrated environment and health information to understand the links between sources of pollutants and health effects:
    Action 1: Develop environmental health indicators;
    Action 2: Develop integrated monitoring of the environment, including food, to allow the determination of relevant human exposure;
    Action 3: Develop a coherent approach to biomonitoring in Europe;
    Action 4: Enhance coordination and joint activities on environment and health;
  • filling the knowledge gap by strengthening research on environment and health and identifying emerging issues:
    Action 5: Integrate and strengthen European environment and health research;
    Action 6: Target research on diseases, disorders and exposures;
    Action 7: Develop methodological systems to analyse interactions between environment and health;
    Action 8: Ensure that potential hazards on environment and health are identified and addressed;
  • reviewing policies and improving communication by developing awareness raising, risk communication, training and education to give citizens the information they need to make better health choices, and to make sure that professionals in each field are alert to environment and health interactions:
    Action 9: Develop public health activities and networking on environmental health determinants through the public health programme;
    Action 10: Promote training of professionals and improve organisational capacity in environment and health by reviewing and adjusting risk reduction policy;
    Action 11: Coordinate ongoing risk reduction measures and focus on the priority diseases;
    Action 12: Improve indoor air quality;
    Action 13: Follow developments regarding electromagnetic fields.

Member States, the Commission, international organisations and stakeholder groups (industries and civil society, for example) will share responsibility for implementing the Action Plan.

The Commission will play a major role and will continue to engage with all the main stakeholders and promote cooperation at EU level, within its areas of competence, and liaise with the European Environment Agency, the European Food Safety Agency and other relevant bodies. It will implement the actions through existing initiatives and programmes which already have allocated resources, notably the Public Health Programme and the Sixth Framework Programme for Research, and through the operational budgets of the services concerned.

Stakeholders will be fully involved in the implementation process through the Consultative Group, comprising Member States, stakeholders and international organisations. Relevant scientific committees and working groups will also be consulted.

In 2007 the Commission will conduct a mid-term review of the implementation of the Action Plan.

Background

The Action Plan serves as the Commission's contribution to the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Budapest in June 2004.

RELATED ACTS

Communication of 11 June 2007 from the Commission: "Mid Term Review of the European Environment and Health Action Plan 2004-2010" [COM(2007) 314 final - Official Journal C 191, 17.08.2007].
In this communication the Commission notes the growing links between environment policy and health policy, and especially the development of information systems, the priority given to research into environment and health interactions, the closer cooperation between environment, research and health, and the concentration on emerging issues such as nanotechnology. In addition, several initiatives have been launched since the Action Plan got under way, such as the Water Information System for Europe (WISE), and measures on air quality and chemicals.

Last updated: 29.08.2007
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