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in Africa Bulletin

Summary Report
Monday, 1 September 2008
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First Inter-ministerial Conference on
Health and Environment in Africa

26–29 August 2008 | Libreville, Gabon

Highlights for Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Participants in the working group tackling traditional and modern risks to human health and the environment.
Opening Plenary
Daily web coverage
Tuesday, 26 August - Wednesday, 27 August - Thursday, 28 August - Friday, 29 August
The first Inter-ministerial Conference on Health and Environment in Africa convened on Tuesday morning, August 26, 2008, at the Cité de la Démocratie in Libreville, Gabon. Opening the two-and-a-half day technical segment which precedes the minister’s conference, Jean-Baptiste Ndong Nguema, Gabon’s Secretary General in the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene in Charge of the Family and Advancement of Women, welcomed the Conference as an opportunity to explore the links between the state of Africa’s environment and human health, and suggested that the conference will contribute to Africa’s sustainable development. Maria Neira, Director, Department of Public Health and Environment, World Health Organization, in her brief welcoming remarks on behalf of the conference co-organizers, expressed hope of an improvement in the state of the environment and the health of Africans’ as a result of the conference.

The bureau for the technical segment, appointed by acclamation, comprises Chair Lucien Obame of Gabon, Vice-Chair Robinson Roland of Madagascar, 1st Rapporteur Jean de Dieu Nzila of the Republic of Congo, and 2nd  Rapporteur Ramsook Loykisoonlal from South Africa. The experts also adopted by acclamation their agenda and timetable of work as presented by Chair Obame.

The substantive session began with two keynote presentations. WHO’s Maria Neira presented on the environmental threats to human health, while Mounkaila Goumandakoye, Director, Regional Office for Africa, UNEP, presented on opportunities for collaboration and highlighted the existing mechanisms to address the health and environmental challenges faced by the continent. In the afternoon, the experts met in parallel working groups to consider: policy actions to address current environmental risks to human health; climate change; new and emerging environmental threats to human health; and tools and approaches for policy making in environmental management and public health.
The dais during the morning opening ceremony.
Jean Baptiste Ndong Nguema, Secretary General, Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene (Gabon).
Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, World Health Organization (WHO).
Mounkaila Goumandakoye, Director, UNEP Regional Office for Africa.
The bureau for the technical segment, appointed by acclamation.
Parallel Working Group and Side Event
Maria Neira, WHO
Hamana Boucherma, Algeria, making an intervention during the discussion.
Participants during the discussion session.
Maria Neira, WHO, illustrating a point at the side-event on children’s health and environment in Africa.
Daily web coverage
Tuesday, 26 August - Wednesday, 27 August - Thursday, 28 August - Friday, 29 August
Related Links
UNEP Resources
Conference website
Background Paper
Provisional Agenda
Provisional Timetable: Technical Segment
Technical Documents
African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN)

WHO Resources
WHO homepage
WHO Health and Environment Linkages Initiative

International Institute for Sustainable Development - Reporting Services (IISD RS) Resources
IISD RS coverage of AMCEN-12, 7-12 June 2008, Johannesburg, South Africa
IISD RS summary report of AMCEN-11, 22-26 May 2006, Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo (HTML - PDF)
African Regional Coverage
Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
MEA Bulletin - Newsletter on key MEAs and their secretariats
Climate Change Policy & Practice - A knowledge management project for international negotiations and related activities on climate change
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