European Centre for Environment and Human Health – WHO Collaborating Centre status reconfirmed

Posted on 5th July 2023

The European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) has been re-designated as a Collaborating Centre by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe for a further four years.

ECEHH has developed reports for member states as a WHO Collaborating Centre on Natural Environments and Health, contributing to science and policy-making to help the WHO set global health priorities and support its member states to tackle health challenges.

Dr Conny Guell, Co-Director of ECEHH, said: “This re-designation is a testament to the incredible body of work our team has produced. The importance of understanding the links between the natural environment and human health is something we have championed for more than a decade and it is being recognised on an international stage. We look forward to extending our global reach in this vital area.”

Among several streams of work, the European Centre has authored a report for WHO providing an overview of the impacts of the natural environment on human health. Experts from ECEHH also recently authored a review; ‘Assessing the value of urban green and blue spaces for health and well-being’, aimed at supporting individuals and organisations across the 53 member states of the WHO European Region in making evidence-based decisions.

The re-designation recognises a history of collaboration between the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the ECEHH and solidifies efforts to develop capacities and support functions on nature and health across different countries and regions.

This week, Associate Professor Ben Wheeler will speak at an event on nature and health at the Seventh Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, taking place from 5-7 July in Budapest, Hungary.

This Ministerial Conference will define the future environment and health priorities and commitments for the WHO European Region, with a focus on addressing the health dimensions of the triple environmental crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental pollution. In spite of progress achieved over the past 30 years, more than 1.4 million deaths per year in the Region are still attributable to environmental risk factors according to the WHO.

Associate Professor Ben Wheeler will speak on a panel convened by the UN Environment Programme, discussing nature based solutions and presenting the work of ECEHH as a WHO Collaborating Centre over the past four years.

He said: “The draft Ministerial Declaration makes clear that we have to consider the interconnections between climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, and the importance of considering their impacts on and opportunities for both ecosystems and human health and wellbeing. This aligns with the research areas that we have championed over the past decade. It is rewarding to see the momentum moving towards concrete action and collaboration across countries and sectors to address the pressing environmental threats to health.”

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