2002: Rusudan Lomidze









10.00 – 16.30, Tuesday 6 November, 2001

The I. Beritashvili Institute of Physiology,  14, Gotua St., Tbilisi




WomenAid has great pleasure inviting you to attend the presentation of the Draft Environmental Health Action Plan (NEHAP) for Georgia which will take place on Tuesday, 6th November at the Beritashvili Institute of Physiology, from 10.00-16.30.

NEHAPs are the methods by which nations independently implement the statutes of the Aarhus Convention, a regional framework for strengthening public rights of access to information, decision-making, and justice in the context of environmental concerns. NEHAPs collectively comprise a strategy to prevent environmental health hazards in Europe. Each country writes its own plan with its own set of priority actions. Through their plans, European countries are bringing to life the Environmental Health Action Plan for Europe that they endorsed at the European Conference on Environment and Health in June 1994 in Helsinki. With this stamp of approval, the counties made the NEHAPs a top priority for action.

Health concerns prescribe what should be done in the environmental field and have always influenced environmental policy, but both health and environment policies were kept away from each other, for reasons of conflicting ‘economical and industrial’ interests.  Politicians now understand this approach has not worked and in Europe an Environment and Health Process has been established. This is an international framework for protecting and improving environment and health in the European region and is a vehicle for partnerships to promote public awareness of environment and health issues and encourage the public to contribute actively towards a better environment. The general aims of the Environment and Health process are:

  • to improve the living and health conditions of the present generation

  • to ensure that the carrying capacity of nature is not exceeded, and

  • to ensure that the right of future generations to a satisfying and productive life is safeguarded.

WomenAid established the NEHAP FORUM to facilitate public participation in decision-making in environmental and health issues in Georgia. The Forum is supporting 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.

Under the Aarhus Convention, the Community and Member State institutions have signed up to a series of commitments regarding improved transparency, access to environmental information, and public participation in environmental decision-making. With the aim of changing the behaviour of citizens the 6th European Action Plan wants to guarantee transparency and access to information, to organise debates in order to get feedback and to spread and distribute information.

Public participation and access to information are increasingly recognized as essential elements in making the much needed 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 policies.

"We need to reduce secrecy and to present data in a way that enables the public to investigate the health and environment issues that concern them", says Jeremy Wates, [WHO Europe], " For example, people want to know, what are the main sources of pollution in my community?  Which chemicals are involved?  Which diseases are associated with these chemicals and is there an unusually high incidence of these diseases in my area? Even if there are not always clear cut answers to such questions, in this age of the Internet we can go much further to increase transparency."

The role of communication in the policy-making process is becoming increasingly recognized and environmental decision-makers view communication as an instrument with great potential to achieve a sustainable society. Many EU documents refer to this instrument as "awareness raising", "the promotion of public participation", "education", or "communication and information".  The report of the World Commission on Environment and Development drew attention to the fundamental importance of environmental awareness as a starting point for the implementation of sustainable development.

"Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature."                  

Rio Declaration (1992)

A healthy environment and a sustainable use of our natural resources are prerequisites for good health for the coming generations.  When the World Commission for Environment and Development presented their report Our Common Future in 1987, Gro Harlem Brundtland - Head of the Commission - was asked why health did not have its own chapter in the book?, she replied – every page of this book is about health!

Well-informed citizens who are actively involved in environmental decision-making are a powerful new force in achieving results.  People are demanding a stronger voice in the decisions made at the community, regional, national and international level that affect our health and the quality of our environment.  To be effective they need quality information that they can use and understand and they need the appropriate access to decision-makers to be able to express their views.  It is hoped that the NEHAP Forum activities will pave the way for prompt citizen and governmental action on the most pressing of Georgia's environmental and health concerns.

WomenAid looks forward to your participation in one of the most important National Action Plans for Georgia which will impact on the future health of all generations of Georgia.

For more information please contact:The NEHAP FORUM team

Environment & Health Network Platform

WomenAid International-Caucasus

17 Khvichia Street, Tbilisi, Georgia

Tel/Fax: (995 32) 37 92 70  or

E-mail: waigeo@access.sanet.ge

NEHAP Forum Agenda

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