Asia-Pacific Regional Forum on Health and Environment
The Regional Forum on Environment and Health in Southeast and East Asian Countries was established in 2004. The vision of its original charter was “to safeguard and enhance health and the environment, thereby promoting development that reduces poverty”.
The ministers of health and environment have met every three years since 2007 to set the overall policy direction of the Regional Forum, while their high-level officials have met every 18 months since 2004 to deal with policies, strategies, budgets and plans with the secretariat. Since 2010, thematic working groups (TWGs) have reported on progress in key areas such as air quality and environmental emergencies.
In its first decade, the Regional Forum sparked new cooperation among ministries and sectors at the country level, especially with the development of National Environmental Health Action Plans, environmental health impact assessment, and legal and policy reforms.
The founding members of the Regional Forum are 10 Associations of Southeast Asian Nations countries plus China, Japan, Mongolia and the Republic of Korea (ASEAN+4). Members agreed in 2016 to invite all countries of the WHO South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions into the Forum. Therefore, the meeting has been named the “Asia-Pacific Regional Forum on Health and Environment”, with the theme of "Environment and Health at the Centre of Sustainable Development". This was held in Manila, Philippines on 6-8 October 2016.
Its secretariat consists of the WHO South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regional Offices and United Nations Environment Programme Regional Office for Asia Pacific (UNEP-ROAP).
VIDEO: Event highlights for 8 October 2016, Asia-Pacific Regional Forum on Health and Environment (Manila, Philippines)
The specific objectives of the Asia-Pacific Regional Forum on Health and Environment are:
- To seek ideas and inputs on how the Regional Forum can serve as a practical platform for cross-sector collaboration on SDGs and meeting commitments made under the Paris Agreement on climate change;
- To discuss emerging environmental issues affecting health in the region including transboundary concerns;
- To provide updates on what has been achieved by the Regional Forum over the three years since the Third Regional Forum in Kuala Lumpur;
- To finalize the 2017-2019 workplan, setting out a viable and effective programme for the next three years;
- To agree on the expansion of the membership of the Regional Forum; and
- To agree on the Manila Declaration for endorsement of ministers which will provide updated policy directions of the Regional Forum.