Addressing the interlinkages between health and environment on the road to sustainable development
In August 2008, more than 300 participants from 52 African countries gathered in Libreville, Gabon to attend the first Interministerial Conference on Health and Environment in Africa (IMCHE).
The main outcome of that historic meeting was the adoption of the Libreville Declaration, which recognised that human health is intimately linked to the state of the environment. Participating nations committed themselves to 11 priority actions for addressing the continent’s top health and environmental challenges. This commitment was reaffirmed during their second joint meeting in Angola in 2010 through the Luanda Commitment on Health and Environment.
These agreements have paved the way towards a more integrated approach to policy-making in the health and environment sectors.
The upcoming third IMCHE conference in Libreville will build on the progress of its predecessors in addressing the interlinkages between health and environment as a means of achieving sustainable development and the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
WHO Africa and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) are encouraging a strategic alliance between the health and environment sectors in Africa through the implementation of the Libreville Declaration.Read the Libreville declaration here
Building on the progress recorded and valuable lessons learnt since Libreville 2008, the conference will address the significant challenges that continue to limit the impact of interventions on ecosystems and the health of vulnerable populations and communities, in the context of a changed policy landscape and important shifts in the global development agenda.
The overarching objective of the meeting will be to catalyse action by stimulating policies and investments on the joint contribution of the health and environment sectors towards the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Africa (SDGs).
Additionally, the conference will aim to:
Produce a strategic action plan for increased coverage of health and environment interventions for primary prevention in public health and preservation of ecosystems integrity
Achieve commitment from member states and stakeholders to scale up joint policies and actions on health and environment in Afri
Identify opportunities for accessing investments and mobilising domestic resources for health and environment priority actions
The outcomes of IMCHE will contribute to the momentum built since 2008 in fostering coordinated action in the health and environment sectors. Participating countries are expected to reach the following objectives at the conclusion of the meeting: