The practice of protecting the environment and health is changing. It is commonly accepted that health, environmental and social issues are complex subjects to address and are often interrelated to one another, as well as to other development and economic issues. Partly as a consequence of this, the Member States and WHO launched a movement to draw up national environment and health action plans (NEHAPs) at the Second European Conference on Environment and Health (Helsinki, June 1994).


Earlier this year WomenAid contacted the Georgian national co-ordinator of the NEHAP and offered its assistance in the first phase of the project.  This was accepted and the NEHAP Forum has been set up to facilitate the development process and help define the priority themes. The Forum will support the development and implementation of the National Environmental Health Action Plan [NEHAP] process by facilitating comprehensive public input through public discussion and debate at the drafting stage. 

Public participation and access to information are increasingly recognized as essential elements in making the necessary transition towards environmentally sound, health-enhancing and sustainable forms of development.  Effective communications with the public and active dissemination of information are essential elements in the development and implementation of environment and health [EH] policies.  The creation of a NEHAP is crucial to the development of a democratic society that has a voice in the important issues that affect everyday life. The public and NGOs can be an important driving force for NEHAP implementation. They should help identify priority concerns and press for solutions, promote integrated solutions to problems and play a role in monitoring progress towards the goals set.


The Environment & Health Network Platform, (EHNP) aims to Increase public participation in environmental decision-making, promote public awareness of environmental issues and encourage the public to contribute actively towards a better environment.  The EHNP is gathering a broad coalition of key players and stakeholders who will work together to develop strategies that increase public awareness of environmental issues and health linkages, thereby fostering more enlightened attitudes and encouraging the public to contribute actively towards a better environment. Platform members define effective response strategies to environmental threats and stimulate informed pressure for effective and early implementation of policies based on sustainable development. The adjustment and up-dating of environment and health legislation is also encouraged.

Members of the Environmental and Health Network Platform work together to:

  • Identify and focus on national problems, promoting the active cooperation of all stakeholders;

  • Gain the recognition by government that the signing and ratifying of international treaties accomplishes little without simultaneous substantive changes in national legal frameworks;

  • Encourage the media and press to promote national awareness of critical environment and health issues and ways to reduce risk;

  • Facilitate collaboration among all non-governmental organizations, institutions, professionals and government representatives and provide opportunities for the participation of all sectors of civil society, from individuals to institutions to join in environmental protection efforts;

  • Strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations to effectively advocate for and implement environmental protection and awareness programmes.

Effective policy-making pre-supposes the existence of decision-makers responsive to the views of a public well-informed about environment and development issues and their complex inter-relationships.  By developing broad multi-sectoral discussion between government and local authorities officials, NGOs, scientists, community groups, trade unions, business leaders, and members of the general public, WomenAid is promoting a method of consensus-building, an important part of democratic decision-making processes.  The aim is to engage a cross-section of Georgian society in debates on environmental risks and lobby national government and local authorities for action.

For more information please contact:The Environment & Health team

Health & Gender Equity Center

WomenAid International-Caucasus

17 Khvichia Street, Tbilisi, Georgia

Tel/Fax: (995 32) 37 92 70


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