Budapest Declaration: Europe and Central Asia act to prevent 1.4 million annual climate change and pollution casualties

Environmental pollution caused by factories

Around 1.4 million people in the WHO European areas pass away each year as a result of poor environmental conditions, such as climate change and rising pollution. At the “Seventh Ministerial Conference” on Environment and Health held in Budapest, all the ministers of the European Nations were gathered to discuss this important problem in order to develop timely solutions.

This conference’s major goals were to discuss the growing effects of climate change, the serious damage that pollution does to human health, and how to preserve biodiversity. The meeting took place in Budapest (Capital of Hungary) from 5to 7 July, 2023. In this article, we going to discuss about the key concerns raised in the conference and the suggested course of action.

Emerging reports reveal casualties linked to environmental factors

The research being conducted is just for the Central Asian and European areas: –

  • Every year, 1.4 million individuals lose their lives only because of environmental health concerns that can be completely prevented. These casualties contribute to 15% towards the burden on hospitals.
  • In 2019, about 570 000 fatalities were caused by ambient air pollution, whereas 150 000 deaths were caused simply by household pollution.
  • In 2020, an estimated 77 million individuals did not have access to safe drinking water.
  • 20,000 people died in Europe alone last year as a result of excessive heat recorded in summer.

The right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment

The urgent priority for all nations, according to Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, should be figuring out how they can prevent millions of deaths caused by environmental risk factors. Dr. Kluge stated that we must protect our planet from the triple climate crisis of pollution i.e. climate change, and biodiversity loss.

Every person has the right to live in a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, however accomplishing that has become increasingly challenging due to rising environmental dangers. We should implement the take necessary steps so that every individual’s rights can be safeguarded.

Concrete actions for environmental and health improvement

The Budapest Declaration will serve as a guide for taking the required actions to create sustainable communities. It gave a number of recommendations so that member states are participating can put these actions into effect in order to prevent health adverse effects, which is mostly caused by climate change, environmental pollution, and biodiversity loss. Aiming to reduce pollution, adjusting to the changing environment, conserving nature, and doing sustainable planning are a few of these measures.

Reducing the rate of disease and health disparities

To get rid from the burden of disease is one of the issues covered in the Budapest Declaration. The most at-risk populations, particularly children, women, and the elderly, experience higher health issues.

The main goals of the actions are to guarantee that all of these vulnerable groups have access to clean environments, clean water, and the air as to prevent disparities in health within the general population.

Less burden on healthcare systems

The health care system faces an excessive amount of stress from harmful environmental factors and cannot function effectively. As we witnessed in Covid-19, when hospitals became overcrowded with patients and people had to wait for several days to get appointment. There was also a shortage of medical supplies, beds and ambulances all over the world.

The Budapest Declaration discussed strategies to prevent such issues in the future. In order to enhance the healthcare system, it was suggested to make investments in human resources research, government initiatives, and innovative solutions.

To tackle infectious illnesses, robust screening and immunization programs must be implemented. In order to ensure everything works smoothly, there is need to establish coordination in general care, hospitals, and specialist services. Using remote monitoring technology to deliver healthcare services remotely, hence decreasing unnecessary hospital visits.

Launching EHP (European environment and health process partnerships)

The Budapest Declaration also presents countries with the opportunity to establish European Environment and Health Process (EHP) Partnerships, a novel mechanism within the EHP. These partnerships bring together countries and partners who share a common interest in a specific thematic area.

Through collaborative projects, capacity-building activities, training workshops, technical assistance, innovation, research, and dissemination of WHO guidelines, these partnerships accelerate the implementation of the vision and commitments made at the Ministerial Conference.

It will also give technical help to nations that need assistance in dealing with specific environmental and health issues. The barrier that previously existed between the countries may be lifted, allowing all countries to share information and assist one another when needed.

Goal of sustainable future

All European nations are committing on achieving the Sustainable Environment and Health Goals by “2030”. This will be an important milestone, and it must be accomplished to ensure the safety and security of the years to come.

Conclusion

The Seventh Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in Budapest marks an important turning point in tackling the shocking number of casualties caused by environmental risk factors throughout the WHO European Region. Countries express their commitment to combating climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss by adopting a declaration with specified measures. This collaborative endeavor has the potential to save lives, improve living conditions, and create a more sustainable future for everybody. As European ministers gather in Budapest, they convey a strong message that immediate action is required to safeguard both human health and the health of our planet.

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