Press Release

PR | Zakia Khattabi Affirms Urgency of Environmental Action at Conclusion of Landmark Budapest Conference

The Seventh Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health has concluded with the groundbreaking "Declaration of Budapest", highlighting the vital linkage between health, biodiversity, and climate change. Minister of Environment, Zakia Khattabi, among other key participants, ratified this pivotal declaration.

Seventh Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health - Budapest

This vital event, hosted by the World Health organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe, aims to drive forward the environmental and health priorities across the 53 Member States of the WHO European Region, with a crucial focus on the interlinkages between health and the triple environmental crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution. The significance of this conference dates back to the late 1980s when European countries initiated an unprecedented process to eliminate key threats to human health from the environment. The ministerial conferences, held approximately every five years, serve as a platform to assess progress and renew commitments.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the inextricable link between our health and the environment," said Minister Khattabi. "Our world is at a tipping point, with climate change, environmental pollution, and biodiversity loss presenting critical challenges for our planet and our health. We must act now, not tomorrow, and the Declaration of Budapest is a decisive step towards a more resilient, healthy, and sustainable future."

The Declaration of Budapest presents a series of strong commitments to transition towards healthier, sustainable societies. These include prevention, preparedness, and responses to emergencies while addressing the environmental determinants of disease. The signatories are committed to tackling the health challenges related to climate change, environmental pollution, and biodiversity loss, including by strengthening the engagement of the health sector in these agendas and recognizing the centrality of these factors in the global health agenda.
In adopting the “Roadmap for healthier people, a thriving planet, and a sustainable future 2023-2030”, the declaration leverages "accelerators" to facilitate the transition towards resilient, equitable communities. Furthermore, the declaration emphasizes the importance of fostering partnerships and strengthening engagement with civil society, academia, private sector, and local communities for effective decision-making.

Reiterating the commitments of the 2017 Ostrava Declaration, the Budapest declaration extends its scope to include nature, biodiversity, and health as new priorities for action. It also commits to promoting the activities of the European Environment and Health Task Force (EHTF), ratifying relevant multilateral agreements, and actively supporting international youth organizations.

Belgium specifically engaged itself in 2 partnerships; the first concerning health sector climate action and the second concerning human biomonitoring. These partnerships establish a new agile, thematic and action-oriented mechanism to facilitate the implementation of commitments on environment and health.

"The Declaration of Budapest is not just an agreement; it is our unwavering commitment to the future generations," concluded Minister Khattabi.