A new report charts progress a decade after the historic Libreville Declaration on Health and Environment in Africa


A decade after the signing of the historic Libreville Declaration on Health and Environment in Africa, a new report charts the progress made by participating nations in implementing the political, institutional and investment changes needed to address the continent’s most pressing health and environment challenges.

The Africa-wide assessment of the state of health and environment linkages is taking shape with 26 countries having already completed Country Situation Analyses and Needs Assessments (SANAs) as an important preliminary step in the implementation of the Libreville Declaration.

In August 2008, more than 300 participants from 52 African countries gathered in Libreville, Gabon to attend the first ever Interministerial Conference on Health and Environment (IMCHE). The main outcome of that meeting was the adoption of the Libreville Declaration, which recognised that human health is intimately related to the state of the environment. The gathering saw participating nations commit themselves to a strategic agenda for addressing the continent’s most pressing health and environment challenges.

Since Libreville, significant efforts have been made by governments and their development partners to translate their conference commitments into action. The Third synthesis report on the situation analysis and needs assessments for the implementation of the Libreville Declaration on Health and Environment in Africa  serves as a benchmark against which member states and partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), can track the progress made in implmenting the 11 priority actions of the Libreville Declaration.

The report shows significant efforts have been made over the past decade to develop a more integrated approach to policy-making in the health and environment sectors, with 26 countries undertaking and completing the process of Situation Analysis and Needs Assessment (SANA) for the implementation of the Libreville Declaration. This was a prerequisite for the development of National Plans for Joint Actions (NPJAs). To enable SANAs to be undertaken, a landmark tool was developed to help countries identify national and regional priorities, and this prompted unprecedented joint actions between health, environment and other sectors to address environmental determinants of health and ill-health, as well as associated risk levels, policies, technical and institutional capacities, and intersectoral coordination mechanisms.

Drawing together the findings for these assessments, the new SANA outcomes report helps to outline needs and priorities relating to policy, resources, strategies and tools for the management of environmental determinants of human health. The findings will now be used as a reference for WHO and UNEP in preparation for the third Interministerial Conference for Health and Environment in Africa, to be held next month in Libreville.

The very first synthesis of the SANA process outcomes was performed back in 2010, using SANA reports from 12 African countries. Another update, this time including information from 31 African countries, was released in 2015. The latest report comes amid new challenges on sustainable development agenda, with addressing climate change, protecting the environment, promoting transparent international energy markets and facilitating low-carbon development policies now high on the list of priorities.

To view an outline of the SANA report outcomes, click here.