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[GreenYes] Fwd: Prescription for Johannesburg (WSSD): a public health statement

>From: ann leonard <>
>Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002 17:54:19 -0800
>I thought this might interest you to see what others are doing around WSSD 
>and public health.
>"Prescription for Johannesburg"
>A Public Health Statement for the World Summit on Sustainable Development
>While a large number of environmental and sustainable development groups 
>and coalitions are planning activities and statements aimed at influencing 
>the World Summit on Sustainable Development this August and the ongoing 
>preparatory process for the WSSD, the public health voice in particular is 
>lacking. In order to bring that missing voice into the debate, Physicians
>for Social Responsibility has crafted the attached "Prescription for
>Johannesburg." The Prescription outlines a number of key concerns of the
>environmental health community, along with a concise set of specific demands
>for action from the Summit and the governments that will participate in it.
>We are asking for public interest NGOs of all kinds to support this
>statement. We will release it initially at the first-ever meeting of Health
>and Environment Ministers of the Americas (HEMA) on March 4-5 in Ottawa, 
>and will use the statement throughout the WSSD preparatory process.
>If you would like to add your organization's name to the list of supporters
>of this statement, please indicate this in an email to All
>sign-ons received by March 1 will be included in the version released at 
>the HEMA, but sign-ons will also be accepted indefinitely afterward.
>(Please note: While this statement is not open for major revisions or
>substantial additions, minor changes to reflect concerns of new endorsers
>may be considered.)
>Karen Perry
>Deputy Director, Environment & Health Program
>Physicians for Social Responsibility
>1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW
>Suite 1012
>Washington DC 20009
>Phone (202) 667-4260 x249
>Fax (202) 667-4201

"Prescription for Johannesburg"

Statement of Public Health and Other Public Interest Organizations
on the World Summit on Sustainable Development,
August/September 2002, Johannesburg, South Africa

The undersigned public health and other public interest organizations 
present the following statement on the important linkages between public 
health, the environment, and sustainable development. This "Prescription 
for Johannesburg" serves as guidance for addressing critical environmental 
health issues at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (the Summit) 
and its preparatory meetings.


We, the undersigned public health and other public interest organizations,

Recognizing that sustainable development and public health are 
intrinsically linked because human health is dependent upon the 
environments in which people live, work and play;

Noting that rates of a number of human diseases and health conditions are 
on the rise worldwide, including:
       Asthma, which kills more than 180,000 people worldwide each year 
and affects the breathing of up to 150 million more children and adults, 
rates that have risen steadily during the past decade.
       Diabetes, which is rising dramatically and expected to affect more 
than 300 million people worldwide by 2025.
       Lead poisoning, a completely preventable disease that nonetheless 
still affects tens of millions of children and adults worldwide.
       Pesticide poisoning, which kills some 40,000 agricultural workers 
yearly worldwide, and affects the health of between 2 million and 5 million 
more due to improper use and labeling of dangerous pesticides.
       Diarrheal disease, which kills 2.2 million children annually, with 
90 percent of cases caused by environmental factors such as poor sanitation 
and lack of access to clean water and safe food.

Understanding that environmental pollution has been linked to these health 
conditions and to a number of other detrimental effects on human health, 
including cancer and birth defects;

Mindful that the World Health Organization has determined that poor 
environmental quality is responsible for 25 percent of all preventable 
ill-health in the world today, and that children's health is most damaged, 
with as much as two-thirds of all preventable ill-health due to 
environmental concerns occurring in children;

Acknowledging that children are uniquely vulnerable to environmental 
exposures because they are in a dynamic state of growth, with many vital 
systems such as nervous, immune and respiratory systems not fully developed 
upon birth, and are thus more likely to suffer and die from preventable 
health problems caused or exacerbated by environmental conditions;

Aware that poverty is a major contributor to, and the result of, 
environmental degradation and human illness;

Recognizing that pollution prevention and the sound management of chemicals 
is essential for sustainable development and the protection of human health 
and the environment;

Conscious of the need for the transfer of financial and technological 
resources in order to build the capacity of developing countries to deal 
with poverty, environmental pollution, and public health, and to promote 
sustainable development;

Recalling that the international community has committed itself to 
addressing crucial environmental health issues through international 
treaties and fora such as the Stockholm Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, and 
the Convention on the Rights of the Child;

Have agreed and strongly recommend that:

1. The Summit identify and prioritize efforts to further integrate 
environmental and health concerns and solutions in all countries;

2.  The Summit address precaution, as set forth in Principle 15 of the Rio 
Declaration, in decision-making for sustainable development;

3.  The Summit devote particular attention to issues of children's 
environmental health in the context of sustainable development, and that 
all governments, worldwide, commit to domestic steps to specifically 
recognize the special susceptibilities of children and protect them from 
harmful environmental conditions and exposures;

4.  Even before the Summit, all governments commit to ratifying the 
Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and depositing their 
instrument of ratification by June 6, 2002, such that the Convention might 
enter into force on or before the close of the Summit;

5.  All governments commit to ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on Climate 
Change, including a commitment by all countries to substantial domestic 
cuts of greenhouse gas emissions;

6.  In addition, specific outcomes of the Summit should include, among 
other things:

       A global initiative to implement previous commitments to phase out 
leaded gasoline, and to achieve the expedited completion of the phaseout;

       A global commitment to reduce by half the proportion of households 
worldwide without full access to safe and affordable drinking water and 
sanitation systems by 2010;

       A global plan of action to ensure the timely phaseout of DDT under 
the Stockholm Convention, including commitments to increase development 
assistance for less-toxic malaria control programs, and to increase funding 
worldwide for malaria research;

       A global initiative to develop standardized systems and methods for 
tracking environmental contamination, human exposures, and relevant health 
outcomes in all countries; policy and performance indicators and data 
reporting to monitor and evaluate program implementation; and procedures 
for providing the public with access to such data;

       The establishment of a Intergovernmental Panel on Children's 
Environmental Health that will assess the effects of environmental 
exposures and conditions on children's health and the risk of exposure, and 
a commitment to establish standardized methods of data collection and 
analysis, data reporting, and public dissemination of information collected;

5.  Each United Nations regional organization initiate an annual meeting of 
Environment Ministers and Health Ministers of the region, for discussion of 
regional environmental health concerns and development of common strategies 
and joint activities to dedicated to improvement of health in the region; and

6.  The United States and other industrialized countries renew their 
commitments to sustainable development by taking leadership at home, 
building the capacity of their own governments to protect human health from 
harmful environmental conditions, and committing to the transfer of 
financial and technological resources to effectively promote sustainable 
development around the world, including meeting and expanding their current 
commitments to the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).

Gary Liss
Fax: 916-652-0485

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