6. We decided to include this issue for the first time in our agenda to emphasize that the protection of public health has been and remains a fundamental objective of environmental policies. Furthermore there is increasing evidence and concern that pollution at levels or concentrations below existing "alert thresholds" can cause or contribute to chronic public health problems, particularly for children and other vulnerable members of our communities. We agreed that health is a privileged area where policies must be based on sound science and the precautionary principle.
7. A more precise knowledge of the effects on health of environmental degradation will make possible to assess and better take into account the economic and financial costs for the society of damage to the environment, in particular the costs for social security systems. Knowing these costs will enable us to make a better assessments of the benefits for public health of environmental policies. There is therefore a need for developing and deepening scientific studies in order to fill the gaps which still exist in this area.
8. Citizens should become full-fledged partners in the dialogue on environment related health hazards, through enhanced transparency of expertise and thanks to information and active participation in research and the containment of sources of pollution. Such a participation should be particularly reflected in the establishment of national plans on health including environmental aspects.
9. There is a need for taking into account, in public health and environmental policies, pollution from diffuse sources or indirect pollutions, below the generally admitted alert-thresholds. Similarly, at the international level, there is a need for taking into account risks for health in to the negotiations in progress, for instance about toxic chemicals issue in the UN agenda (PICs and POPs) and welcomed the work of UNEP in this respect.
10. We agreed on the necessity to coordinate the efforts made by various international institutions on research, risk analysis and certification in order to try and find immediate answers to the sanitary consequences of environmental degradations and beyond, to try and forecast the long term consequences of our policies and external environmental and sanitary trends so that we can anticipate them. In order to meet these objectives we agreed it was important to act as international and national levels.
11. To get on deepening this issue the government of France proposed to convene a meeting jointly with the four international institutions working on this issue (WHO, UNEP, CSD and GEF) and with the participation of representatives from developing countries and NGOs.
12. We further agree that the early identification of future challenges and problems would lead to more effective management of environment and health issues. We committed to coordinate to anticipate and respond to environmental change to go on deepening this issue and looked forward to progress in this area by the time of the Environment Future Forecasting Forum to be hosted by US prior to the 1997 special session of the UNGA.
13. We also emphasized the importance of national plans on health and environment, with a view to join and better coordinate our sectoral policies and welcomed the development of this in preparation of WHO conference to be held in London in 1999.
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