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Abu Dhabi To Hold An International Conference On Environmental Health

An international conference on Environmental Health will be organized by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) and the World Health Organization’s Regional Centre for Environmental Health Activities (WHO/CEHA), from 16 – 19 March, 2009 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The Conference, which will be held under the patronage of H.H Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of UAE and Chairman of EAD, will bring together researchers, policy makers and experts from around the world. They will be contributing to the global debate on how the environment links to health at the global, regional and national levels. “Environmental health is an issue we can no longer ignore. The World Health Organisation estimated that over 13 million preventable deaths occur annually as a result of unhealthy living and working conditions. Their report further estimates that 24% of global disease is caused by environmental exposures and more than 33% of disease in children under the age of 5 is caused by environmental exposures,” said H.E Majid Al Mansouri, Secretary General of EAD and Chairman of the Conference Scientific Committee. “Here in the UAE, our objective is to identify the burden of disease caused by the environment. Through this Conference and through our National Environmental Health project, we try to understand the extent to which environmental issues affect the health of everyone. According to the Ministry of Health, Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the UAE. We will be studying the effects of the environment on this disease and others such as Cancer, Asthma and Diabetes,” he added. This International Environmental Health Conference 2009 is in line with the efforts to develop a strategy for environmental health in the UAE, In 2008, EAD, supported by a network of national collaborating authorities and in collaboration with University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, USA, began developing a national strategy for environmental health. The goal is to identify priority health threats caused by environmental factors in the UAE, estimate the burden of disease caused by these factors, identify mitigation strategies, and strengthen the capacity of the UAE Government in this field. Speakers will present technical papers on: environmental burden of disease, global environmental health, air quality, healthy homes and communities (healthy settings i.e., homes, schools, workplaces, play areas, etc), water quality, hazardous and solid waste management and institutional capacity in environmental monitoring and assessment. On the last day of the Conference, panelists will discuss the draft document “Developing a National Strategy and Action Plan for Environmental Health for the United Arab Emirates.” This was prepared by the University of North Carolina, as part of their five-year study on the strategy.

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