University of Exeter’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health updates Bonn dialogue

Posted on 9th December 2021

The impact of natural environments on human health has been brought to international attention once again thanks to work conducted by the European Centre for Environment and Human Health.

Dr Benedict Wheeler presented the findings of the Centre’s Nature, Biodiversity and Health report to The WHO European Centre for Environment and Health, under the auspices of the Environment and Health Process, as part of a series of high-level Bonn Dialogues on Environment and Health.

The Bonn Dialogues are meant to provide the European Environment and Health Task Force (EHTF) with evidence and reflection points to support the identification of priorities and the formulation of possible commitments to be put forward by the 53 Member States of the WHO European Region at the 7th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, expected to be held in 2023.

The European Centre for Environment and Human Health has been designated as a WHO Collaborating Centre on Natural Environments and Health, recognising its significant contribution to science and policy-making on the interconnections between environment and human health.

Professor Wheeler commented:

“The designation as a WHO Collaborating Centre on Natural Environments and Health is based on a history of collaboration between the University of Exeter and the WHO, and aims to solidify efforts to develop capacities and support functions on natural environments and health across the WHO European region. Addressing the audience of the Bonn Dialogue on Environment and Human Health was a fantastic opportunity to share understanding, to support policy makers and influence investment across 53 member states.”

The topic of nature, biodiversity and health is regarded as a rapidly emerging area of work, the interest for which has significantly and swiftly increased in recent years. This is in part due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has brought to the fore the complex relations between human health and the natural environment.

The Dialogue aims to give new impetus to the promotion of health and well-being through informed decisions on the local planning and management of green and blue spaces.

The main objectives of this Dialogue are:

  • to take stock of the latest evidence and to develop a shared understanding of the impacts of the natural environment on human health, including mental health;
  • to exchange views on policy opportunities, emerging approaches and good practices to design and implement policies that promote health through investments into the protection of nature and biodiversity;
  • to highlight tools in support of policy-making.

The event was open to nominated representatives of ministries of health and environment and of relevant stakeholders, as well as other interested individuals, including researchers, educators, students, policy advocates and managers, and members of civil society and the general public.



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