Progress Report on the Regional Forum on Environment and Health Draft 4.0

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1 Progress Report on the Regional Forum on Environment and Health Draft 4.0 PARTICIPATING COUNTRIES Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Lao People s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam 1

2 Contents 1. Background NEHAPs EHCP/EHDS Capacity-strengthening programme Climate change training module HEAD programme Thailand Occupational Health Services (OHS) study tour Scientific Panel and Knowledge Network Scientific Panel Knowledge Network TWG on Health Impact Assessment TWG on Air Quality TWG on Climate Change and Health TWG on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene TWG on Chemicals and Waste TWG on Environmental Health Emergencies Challenges and constraints of TWGs Collaboration/cooperation High Level Officials Meeting of the Regional Forum Extraordinary Meeting of High-Level Officials of the Regional Forum Eighth High Level Officials Meeting [Videoconference]

3 1. Background The Regional Forum on Environment and Health for Southeast and East Asian Countries is an initiative to strengthen the cooperation of the ministries responsible for environment and health within member countries and across the region by providing a mechanism for sharing knowledge and experiences, improving policy and regulatory frameworks at the national and regional level, and promoting the implementation of integrated environmental health strategies and regulations. The Ministers of Environment and the Ministers of Health serve as the highest body of the Regional Forum. Current members comprise the ten Southeast Asian (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam) and four East Asian countries (China, Japan, Mongolia and the Republic of Korea). The Third Ministerial Meeting of Regional Forum was held from 9 to 10 September 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Major decisions made and agreed at the meeting were: i. adoption of the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Environment and Health; ii. adoption of the Report on Governance, Impact, Partnerships, and Sustainable Financial Mechanism by the Chair and Vice Chair of the Regional Forum; iii. adoption of the Framework for Cooperation of the Regional Forum with new features on structures and functions, establishment of a Scientific Panel and a Knowledge Network; and iv. agreement on widening the membership of the Regional Forum. The aforementioned outcomes together with the Prime Minister and Ministers speeches and scientific presentations provided the guidance and direction to the Regional Forum for the succeeding three years ( ). In reference to the Kuala Lumpur Declaration, member countries of the Regional Forum (emphasis added): Agree to cooperate to develop and implement national environmental health action plans (NEHAPs), or equivalent plans, that aim to put sustainable environment and health at the centre of development, result in sustainability and improvements in environmental quality, enhance public health, and ensure the health of the future generations in the region; Agree to work for the development and implementation of mechanisms to enable more effective sharing of information between the health and environment sectors and other sectors through the Environmental Health Country Profiles (EHCP) and Environmental Health Data Sheets (EHDS); Agree to study ways and means to create within the region an environmental health capacitystrengthening programme through research, training, and sharing technologies and other resources and leading examples; Resolve to strengthen our cooperation to improve inter-agency, multisectoral, bilateral, regional and international cooperation, coordination and planning through capacity-building, and also to improve the management of common and trans-boundary and cross- border issues; 2. NEHAPs National environmental health action plans were defined as a process of developing, adopting, implementing and evaluating environmental health policy by WHO. NEHAPs represent a comprehensive, holistic and intersectoral way of planning and implementing environmental health action at the national level. In many cases, NEHAPs have evolved from plans to national processes for environmental health. 3

4 Twelve out of 14 Regional Forum countries have produced a National Environmental Health Action Plan (NEHAP) using WHO guidance documents. The 12 countries include: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. In the case of Mongolia, the NEHAPs were approved as early as 2005, while in the case of Lao People's Democratic Republic they were only recently approved in Countries with up to 5 years plans include Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Philippines and Thailand. Those with more than 5 years up to 10-years plan include Cambodia, China, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore and Viet Nam. Four plans were prepared by the environment ministry, another 4 were prepared by the health ministry, three were jointly prepared by the environment and health ministries, and in the case of Mongolia, by the directive of the Prime Minister himself. Eight of these plans were considered final documents. Ten out of 12 countries have articulated their national environmental health situation. Each country also has unique environmental health issues. The following priority environmental health issues, were identified: water supply and quality (common in 11 countries), air quality (10), solid wastes and hazardous substances (9), toxic chemical substances (9), climate change (9), and hygiene and sanitation (7), and occupational health and safety (4). Disaster risk and management were environmental health issues cited by 3 countries. Soil pollution, global warming, electromagnetic fields and public health were identified by two countries as priority environmental health issues. The following environmental issues were prioritized as unique for these countries: biodiversity (Japan), nature conservation (Singapore), noise (Viet Nam), sound material cycle (Japan), antibiotics and environmental diseases (Republic of Korea), child s health (Lao People's Democratic Republic), and housing (Viet Nam). Seven countries have both strategic and action plans. Although context was provided in the discussion of their plans, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Philippines and Viet Nam discussed the action plans that will be undertaken by respective ministries. Only Japan presented its plan in a strategic context. All countries national environmental health plans, except for Japan, Singapore, and Republic of Korea have unique self-motivated environmental health and outcome oriented plans, were guided by the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the regional forums organized by these organizations. The NEHAPs of four countries (Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Viet Nam) were prepared by the Ministry of Environment (MOE), while the Ministry of Health (MOH) prepared the plan of Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia and the Philippines. The NEHAPs of Cambodia, China and Thailand were jointly prepared by MOE and MOH. Only the NEHAP of Mongolia traced its implementation from the Prime Minister. Both MOE and MOH are responsible for the implementation of NEHAPs in seven countries (Cambodia, Philippines, Viet Nam, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand). The Ministry of Health of Lao People's Democratic Republic and Mongolia were given sole responsibility in the implementation of the plan, while the Ministry of Environment in Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore were tasked to implement their respective environmental health plans. In terms of objectives of their NEHAPs, Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore aspire for sustainability, high quality of life, intergenerational benefits, international cooperation, improved governance, and continually aspiring for higher environmental targets. More emphasis on interagency coordination and public participation were the thrusts of NEHAPs in China, Indonesia, Malaysia Philippines and Viet Nam. More basic aspirations, such as alleviation of poverty and reduction of mortality and morbidity of children under 5 years were present in the plans of Cambodia and Lao People's Democratic Republic. Emphasis on environmental health education is the strength of Mongolia s NEHAP. In terms of the implementation of NEHAPs, MOEs of Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore are 4

5 solely responsible for its implementation. MOH is responsible in Lao People's Democratic Republic and Mongolia. Seven countries implement their NEHAPs through a project steering committee, technical working groups and inter-agency collaboration. Nine countries have more or less monitoring and evaluation frameworks indicated in their NEHAPs. Three countries (China, Philippines and Viet Nam) have no clear monitoring and evaluation framework, although monitoring is mentioned in their document. Reporting mechanisms are clear in four countries (Cambodia, Mongolia, Singapore and Thailand). For the remaining eight countries, there are no clear guidelines as to who will prepare the status of NEHAP implementation, to whom the report will be submitted, how frequent will be the submission, and who will review and give feedback to the report. In Japan, the effectiveness of the implementation of plan depends on monitoring the plan's progress by numeric indicators. In Republic of Korea, one of the principles in attaining their vision is easy access to data and information. Singapore, too, presented new targets and action programmes in their revised plans For moderate and low income countries, distinction on the contents of NEHAPs are less clear. The remaining nine countries traced the impetus for the development of their NEHAPs from the WHO and UNEP, as well as the regional initiatives on environment and health held in Manila and Bangkok, and the Millennium Development Goals. No country other than Lao People's Democratic Republic have specified budget to implement their NEHAPs. The Lao government has allocated total budget of US$ 44 million over five years ( ) to effectively implement 50 priority projects. Indonesia and the Philippines indicated budget allocations, but these are for other existing environmental and health programs. Funds are specified to be allocated for NEHAPs in China, Malaysia, Mongolia, Thailand and Viet Nam. These funds will come from the Ministry of Finance or Bureau of Budget, but the specific amounts are not indicated. For Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore, no budget was mentioned in their respective plans. 3. EHCP/EHDS Environmental Health Country Profiles (EHCPs) and Environmental Health Data Sheets (EHDS) serve as a valuable resource for countries and regional bodies seeking to enhance and strengthen the multisectoral response to environmental health issues. They serve as a mechanism to enable more effective sharing of information between health and environment sectors as well as other sectors in a collaborative and systematic manner. They provide a baseline profile for each member country of the Regional Forum; a combined report can provide an overall snapshot of health and environment of the Region as a whole. Consultants were appointed to assist with the preparation. EHCPs have been completed for China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Mongolia, Republic of Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. Reports remain outstanding from Brunei Darussalam. Complete EHCP and EHDS provide an overview and baseline of the existing situation, challenges and issues related to environment and health programmes at the country level as well as at the regional level. In addition, EHCP and EHDS reports could be used for priority setting, policy dialogue and stakeholder engagement for inter-ministerial collaboration and cooperation at the country level. At the regional level, EHCP and EHDS will help delineate common environmental and health issues and challenges, which will establish background information for inter-country cooperation and collaboration, including provision of technical assistance and support as well as linkages to SGDs, targets and indicators. The Synthesis Report on EHCP and EHDS shall be made available at the Ninth High-Level Officials 5

6 Meeting in October Capacity-strengthening programme A number of workshops and training module have been held among member countries. Leading examples are listed as follows. 4.1 Climate change training module The WHO South-East Asia Region in collaboration with the WHO Western Pacific Region and the Deutsche Gesellschaft fu r Interationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) convened the first Biregional Training on Climate Change and Health from 26 to 30 January 2015 at the Faculty of Medicine, University Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The training was attended by seven countries from the Western Pacific and 10 countries from the South-East Asian Region. Most participants were from Ministries of Health, with some joining from Ministries of Environment. The main objective of this training was to strengthen the health sector's institutional capacity to understand the linkages and streamline climate change in public health programmes; and to implement and sustain health adaptation plans. In turn, this will increase the decision-making ability of policy-makers; strengthen health systems; and address health issues in the policies and programmes of other sectors. A large part of the training was on improving understanding and sharing of good practice in health sector adaptation planning. These include development of early warning systems and strengthening of health systems preparedness related to climate-sensitive diseases. The training also highlighted the role of the health sector's cooperation with other sectors such as transport and energy to mitigate climate change, as this cooperation will bring significant benefits to the general health of the population. Finally, the training covered the WHO operational framework for building climate resilient health systems. The framework provides 10 components to building resilience, namely: (1) governance and policy; (2) capacity development; (3) vulnerability, capacity and adaptation assessment; (4) integrated risk monitoring and early warning; (5) research; (6) essential products and technology; (7) emergency preparedness and management; (8) management of environmental determinants of health; (9) climate-informed health programmes; and (10) financing. At the end of the training, participants were divided into groups to discuss and prepare action plans based on the above framework. Each country also prepared a workplan for national capacity development on climate change and health; participants would discuss and propose their plans to the relevant personnel when they returned to their country post. In conclusion, the training has enabled the participants to understand the linkages between climate change and health; identify the sectors that are vulnerable to climate change; to develop adaptation plans, and to understand the co-benefits of the mitigation plans by other sectors for health and the development of climate-resilient health systems. 4.2 HEAD programme The First Regional Training on Health, Environment and Development (HEAD), was convened in Incheon, Republic of Korea, from 30 November to 5 December The five and a half-day training comprised sessions on the fundamental principles of environmental health such as environmental epidemiology, environmental toxicology, health impact assessment (HIA), air quality and health, water quality and its impacts on health, and the health impacts of climate change. The training also included sessions on data management and analysis followed by statistical exercises by participants using environmental health data. 6

7 Participants discussed key aspects of successful environmental health policy application on visits to the National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER), Korea Environment Corporation (KECO) and Yonsei University Hospital (Sinchon Severance Hospital). Teams composed of representatives from the Ministries of Health and Environment developed workplans on how they could manage priority environmental health issues strategically through eight groupwork sessions. The meeting guided participants to develop workplans for action and build leadership. Participants exchanged experiences and good practices. Participants agreed to implement their workplans with support from WHO. 4.3 Thailand Occupational Health Services (OHS) study tour The study tour was proposed by Health and the Environment unit, WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific based on the May 2015 Meeting of WHO collaborating centres for occupational health in Jeju, Republic of Korea and based also on the recommendation made during the 2014 Regional Forum of Collaborating Centres in the Western Pacific to strengthen occupational health programmes in all Mekong countries and Mongolia. The technical tour was divided into presentations by respective expert/officials and visit to agencies/units providing the occupational health services at various levels. A technical tour was carried out to some provinces reflecting the different roles of agricultural and chemical industrybased informal sectors and providing an opportunity for Viet Nam delegates to "see and feel" the ongoing activities of the Thai government. 5. Scientific Panel and Knowledge Network 5.1 Scientific Panel The Third Ministerial Meeting of the Regional Forum on Environment and Health in Southeast and East Asian Countries held on 9-10 September 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, called for the establishment of a scientific panel to support the Joint Secretariat of the Regional Forum, comprised of UNEP and the WHO regional offices of South-East Asia and the Western Pacific (SEARO and WPRO). Based on the Framework of Cooperation of the Regional Forum, the Scientific Panel was to be constituted by the Secretariat to support and advise the Secretariat in scientific and technical aspects of the work including identification of priority areas and gaps in knowledge, development of research initiatives and evaluation of interventions at regional and national levels. It was to work with the Knowledge Network, in behalf of the Secretariat, when required by the Secretariat. The panel would be made up of credible specialists and practitioners abiding by the principles of neutrality, objectivity, and transparency. Declarations of interest will be required of all members of the Scientific Panel. A guidance document on the operational aspects of the Panel was developed and adopted at the Extraordinary High Level Officials meeting. In response to this call, WPRO established its own scientific panel, WPRO Policy Advisers on Environment and Health. The aim of WPRO Policy Advisers on Environment and Health is to provide advice on the environmental health programme in this Region as well as advice to the Regional Forum on Environment and Health and other regional initiatives related to environmental health. One of the Advisers has been nominated to represent WPRO on the Scientific Panel of the Regional Forum. 5.2 Knowledge Network The Knowledge Network was intended to be a loose network of various fora and initiatives on various aspects of environment and health to enhance the impact of the Regional Forum by creating synergies and avoiding redundancy and duplication of works at both the regional and 7

8 country levels. The Secretariat was to coordinate the network and mediate the interaction among the network components comprising of Thematic Working Groups (TWG), existing and new initiatives. This section provides the TWG activities undertaken since Ministerial Meeting in Kuala Lumpur in Summary of the activities with corresponding TWG Chair is given in Annex TWG on Health Impact Assessment In April 2014, KIHASA, Republic of Korea handed over the Chair of the TWG on HIA to the Ministry of Public Health, Thailand. Ministry of Public Health, Thailand developed the workplan with focus on HIA capacity building with the following activities: HIA training course development for member countries. Development of specific TWG website based on that created by KIHASA. An HIA regional conference. HIA short-courses. A meeting of this TWG was held on September TWG on Air Quality The following are the activities undertaken under TWG on Air Quality: Country-level inter-agency coordination mechanisms have been established in Thailand and the Philippines. A technical paper on Health Impact Assessment of particulate matter in 27 cities, published in a peer review journal. The core members of this TWG met in November 2015 in Bangkok and discussed/reviewed: Linkages of air quality and health global and regional perspectives. The Second UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) theme, Healthy People, Healthy Environment, SDGs, and linkages of air quality and health in Southeast and East Asian countries. The TWG workplan to enhance and strengthen environment health capacity, concerning air quality. TWG progress since Outputs to be delivered to the 4th Ministerial Regional Forum. The following were further discussed in the TWG meeting on November 2015: 1. Regional Framework on Air Pollution and Health developed with expert guidance and inputs; 2. Framework aims to (i) better engage the health and environment sectors in air pollution and health issue to become stronger advocates; (ii) translate scientific findings for policy development and identification of priority policy dialogues to reduce health impacts of air pollution especially for vulnerable groups; 3. A chapter on Air Quality in the Environmental Health Country Profiles; 4. TWG-Air inputs and engagement in Joint Forum on Atmospheric Environmental issues in Asia and the Pacific and the Governmental Meeting on Urban Air Quality in Asia; 5. TWG-Air inputs and engagement in in development of Guidance Framework for Better Air Quality in Asia which will include guidance on how to address key issues in urban air quality management in Asia presented at the Governmental Meeting on Urban Air Quality; 8

9 6. TWG member countries to engage with Forum Secretariat, the Asia-Pacific Clean Air Partnership and CCAC and Joint Forum to identify synergies and concrete areas of engagement Draft terms of reference for this TWG are developed with a renewed list of member countries and partners, was finalized at the TWG meeting in Seoul in June TWG on Climate Change and Health On 9 12 December 2013 the TWG on Climate Change and Health met in Jakarta, Indonesia. The TWG renewed its functions to enhance regional knowledge management and technical support for emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases associated with climate change and ecosystem change through information sharing and regional cooperation; and to promote research and development in understanding the complex inter-relationship between climate change, ecosystem change and human health, particularly infectious diseases. The objectives of the meeting were: 1. To present the latest work of WHO on Climate Change and Health. 2. To report and discuss the outcomes of COP19 Warsaw Climate Change Conference emphasizing on the relevance of addressing the linkages between Climate Change and Health. 3. To renew the work plan of the TWG CC and formulate a roadmap for the strengthening of regional collaboration in the development of regional and national action plans addressing Climate Change and Health. 4. To explore financing opportunities for the implementation of said roadmap, raising awareness and training members of the TWG CC on project financing processes. 5. To involve potential new members of the Regional Forum and include them in the TWG CC knowledge sharing in order to strengthen their planning for National Health Adaptation to Climate Change. The meeting further discussed on Regional workshop for the training of officers from member agencies on: a) GEF proposal formulation and other funding opportunities, b) vulnerability assessments for risk mapping and c) mainstreaming NEHAPs including in national adaptation plans. A side event at the 2014 Asia Pacific Adaptation Forum in Kuala Lumpur with the TWG on Climate Change and Health TWG on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene The Fourth meeting of the TWG on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene was held in Manila on November 2015 where the meeting defined a vision, mission, goals and objectives of this TWG and generated a workplan with the following priorities: 1. Availability of skills for the development of national intersectoral coordination strategies and frameworks, to report progress towards the SDG 6 WaSH target indicators, including a shared vision on definitions, methodology for data management and approaches on data use for policy-making. 2. Promotion of knowledge exchange on successful approaches to secure drinking-water, sanitation and hygiene development. 3. Availability of harmonized national WaSH-related data information systems to be compatible with existing regional and global monitoring systems. 4. Advocacy for sustainable resource mobilization through implementing community empowerment, commitments at the national, regional, global levels, knowledge sharing, via linkages with existing WaSH-related networks, international organizations and PPP. 9

10 5. Addressing existing and emerging threats to global health such as water crisis, global warming, emergency preparedness and response, and the need for effective resilience capacity in all healthcare facilities, with WaSH-related approaches TWG on Chemicals and Waste In 2016, there has been correspondence with Japan on a possible merger of TWG Solid and Hazardous Waste and TWG Toxic Chemicals and Hazardous Substances to create a TWG on Chemicals and Waste. Consequently, the Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health, Thailand, requested FDA Thailand to Chair this TWG. Among the initial discussion in the creation of TWG on Chemicals and Waste: TWG members participate in capacity development training workshops related to: a) POPs global monitoring plan and b) ratification and implementation of the Minamata Convention. TWG member to find synergies with 3R forum and other initiatives Convene Healthcare Waste Conference Republic of Korea to share information on 9th workshop information workhouse 10 countries Maximized use of electronic distance learning tools and toolkits on chemical risk assessment TWG on Environmental Health Emergencies No activity reported since Challenges and constraints of TWGs The TWGs activities made some progress in implementing their respective activities through their respective workplans since the Ministerial Regional Forum in 2013 along with future work plans. However, most of the TWGs do not have funding to implement their regional activities for the next phase. Most of the funding of some of the TWGs comes from the country chairing the Thematic Working Group. The work of the TWGs appears to be highly appreciated especially in terms of information gathering and exchange. Thus, the status of environment and health in the region is now well known by the members, who have also shared their policies and technologies, but beyond this bulk of strategic knowledge accumulation there appears to be little action and the results often lack effectiveness as they fail to influence policy-makers. The different perceptions of the TWG members about themselves and their roles appear to affect the performances of the members and their vision of the TWG. 1. Institutionalizing annual (or even more frequent) meetings among the members of the TWGs. The terms of reference of the TWG should be clear and leave little room for interpretation. 2. TWGs should have standard operating and reporting procedures, as well as clear and equal Chair rotation procedures. 3. TWGs should promote confrontation and discussion through the means of an online virtual knowledge hub for each TWG. Communication should be enhanced also among different TWGs on cross-cutting issues. 10

11 6. Collaboration/cooperation The First Regional Forum of WHO Collaborating Centres in the Western Pacific was held at the WHO Regional Office for Western Pacific, Manila, Philippines, from 13 to 14 November collaborating centres from 10 countries of the Region participated. It provided an opportunity for collective deliberation to achieve more effective and accountable partnerships with the following objectives: 1. to provide an overview of current priorities and future initiatives; 2. to share good practices and success stories of effective collaboration that could be scaled up and more widely adopted; and 3. to identify innovative opportunities and means for strengthening and enhancing partnerships between WHO collaborating centres and WHO. Other bilateral or multilateral cooperation between member countries under the Regional Forum initiatives will be reported at the Fourth Ministerial Meeting in October High Level Officials Meeting of the Regional Forum 7.1 Extraordinary Meeting of High-Level Officials of the Regional Forum The Extraordinary Meeting of High-Level Officials of the Regional Forum on Environment and Health in Southeast and East Asian Countries was hosted by the Government of Thailand from 20 to 21 August 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting was attended by senior officials from health and environment agencies from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Lao People s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam, as well as representatives from international and regional partners. The Government of Malaysia and the Government of the Philippines served as the Chair and Vice-Chair of the meeting, respectively. The draft guidance document was discussed and agreed by the meeting which included a mechanism for Vice-Chair appointment and introduces the criteria of new memberships to the Regional Forum. The draft guidance document outlined the implications of hosting a High-Level Officials Meeting and the Scientific Panel functions. Among the agreed draft guidance for review circulation for meetings are Ministerial Regional Forum, High-Level Officials, and Scientific Panel meetings. The meeting also discussed outlined roles of members of the Regional Forum in the guidance document, as the roles of the Chair, Vice- Chair, and Secretariat have been. The meeting discussed methods for improving Thematic Working Group external communication and information dissemination (i.e. meetings, operations) by making each TWG Terms of Reference publicly available online, communicating meeting dates, and engaging national focal points. The following actions were proposed: the need for TWGs to revise the current Terms of Reference (ToRs) and recommend ways for linking their work more concretely with the Regional Forum, better definition of the contributions of each TWG to the Knowledge Network, addition of TWG ToRs to the guidance document on conducting meetings, utilizing the Forum website as a venue for inter-twg communication and identifying possible crosslinkages between TWGs, special initiatives and funding opportunities. The Secretariat was called upon to facilitate inter-twg discussion, specific TWG communication, and support resource mobilization for TWG activities. A summary document of country reports(ehcp/ehds) will be presented at the Eighth High- Level Officials Meeting. A final regional synthesis report is to be presented at the Fourth Ministerial Meeting of the Regional Forum in

12 Revisions were incorporated into the draft implementation plan (preceding the workplan), including comments made during discussion of TWG activities. The Philippines presented the initial preparations for hosting the Fourth Ministerial Meeting of the Regional Forum. The Fourth Ministerial Meeting and the Ninth High-Level Officials Meeting to be held in 2016, with the exact location and dates to be determined. The Eighth High-Level Officials Meeting is proposed for the third quarter of 2015 and Member Countries are invited to consider hosting. 7.2 Eighth High Level Officials Meeting [Videoconference] The Eighth High-level Officials' Meeting of the Regional Forum on Environment and Health in Southeast and East Asian Countries took place by video conference on 21 June The meeting was chaired by Ministry of Health, Malaysia. Representatives of ministries of environment and ministries of health from Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; Indonesia; Malaysia; Myanmar; Philippines; Republic of Korea; Singapore; Thailand and Viet Nam participated the videoconference meeting. Lao People's Democratic Republic and Mongolia joined by teleconference link. The Government of Japan sent its regrets. The secretariat was represented by UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia and WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific. Among the discussed and adopted agenda items were: o o o o o Adoption of the Meeting Report of the Extraordinary meeting of the High Level Officials of the Regional Forum, held August 2014, in Bangkok, Thailand. Expansion of membership of the Regional Forum. There was no objection by member countries attending the videoconference on the expansion of the Regional Forum to include other countries of the two WHO regions and UNEP-ROAP region, taking note of the major concern regarding financial, logistical and administrative challenges in handling this expansion. Update on preparations for the Fourth Ministerial Regional Forum. The proposed theme of Environment and health at the centre of sustainable development was noted. The meeting requested that health-related SDGs and targets and global treaties and resolutions on health and environment be addressed in the concept note for the Regional Forum. It was requested that working documents be distributed at least two weeks ahead of the meeting. It was requested that there be an opportunity for the work of TWGs to be adequately discussed. The secretariat agreed to continue to develop the concept and work closely with the Government of the Philippines on arrangements including aiming to finalize all working documents before the end of August Singapore spoke further on its document on Environmental Health Challenges of Transboundary Haze Pollution in Southeast Asia and requested that this item be included in the agenda to be addressed by Ministers at the Fourth Regional Forum. Attention was drawn to the need for a clearer understanding of the issue and associated health impacts and concrete actions, particularly given its transboundary nature. Indonesia requested that other transboundary issues, namely hazardous waste, and transboundary pollution also be adequately covered in the agenda of the Ministerial Forum. Thailand expressed its support for both the proposals of Singapore and Indonesia regarding the issues of transboundary haze, pollution and hazardous wastes. Viet Nam thanked the Government of the Philippines for its excellent preparatory work on the Fourth Ministerial Regional Forum and updated the meeting on progress with its National Health and Environment Action Plan and the introduction of health impact assessment requirements. The secretariat noted that the Fifth Regional Ministerial Forum was planned for 2019 and 12

13 invited members to consider expressing an interest in hosting this meeting at the Fourth Regional Forum in October

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