Healthy Environments for Children Alliance

Healthy Environments for Children Alliance listserv

The Healthy Environments for Children Alliance listserv (HECANET) is an international mailing list dedicated to promoting healthy environments for children. The list provides updates on the activities of the Healthy Environments for Children Alliance (HECA), advocacy tools and information resources, relevant meeting announcements, and reports on technical research and monitoring related to environmental risks to children's health.


  • EC-CAMRE Adopts Resolution Supporting HECA
  • HECA at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
  • Update on the UASLP Environmental Pediatric Unit Launched on WHD 2003
  • WHO Media Award on Children's Health and Environment

EC-CAMRE Adopts Resolution Supporting HECA

A resolution supporting HECA was passed at the 30th meeting of EC-CAMRE (the Executive Council of the Council of Arab ministers in charge of the environment) on 3-4 June 2003 in Beirut, Lebanon. Dr Houssain Abouzaid (HECA Focal Point for the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office) presented on the special susceptibility of children to environmental risks at the meeting, which was chaired by HRH Prince Fahd Bin Abdallah Al Saud (Deputy Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia, and Chairman of the EC-CAMRE). The meeting was attended by representatives of eight Arab countries and regional and national organizations. During the meeting, a resolution under the agenda item related to follow-up to WSSD was passed in support of the Healthy Environments for Children Alliance. It stated that the Executive Council "welcomes the WHO initiative on healthy environments for children and is willing to contribute to its implementation in the Arab region" (unofficial translation).

HECA at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues opened its second session at the UN in New York in May 2003 with a High-level Panel on Indigenous Children and Youth. WHO participated in this panel with a presentation on HECA, emphasising that the Alliance provided an excellent opportunity of focusing attention on the environmental health problems of indigenous children. For a variety of reasons, such as residence in environmentally contaminated areas, geographic or cultural distance from mainstream populations and health services, extreme poverty, and reliance on traditional diets, indigenous communities are at particularly high risk from environmental hazards. This was recognized in the recommendations of the Permanent Forum (a new body, whose mandate is to make recommendations, through ECOSOC, to all parts of the UN system, aiming to increase coordination). The Forum requested the UN agencies supporting and promoting HECA to include a particular focus on indigenous children and youth. WHO was also asked to work with other UN agencies in preparing a workshop on the impacts of POPs and pesticides on indigenous communities. The text of the presentation made on HECA can be found at To view the full report of the second session of the Permanent Forum, please see

Update on the UASLP Environmental Pediatric Unit Launched on WHD 2003

On World Health Day 2003, dedicated to "Healthy Environments for Children", the Environmental Pediatric Unit of the Faculty of Medicine of the Autonomous University of San Luis de Potosi, Mexico, was inaugurated. Activities currently underway include research projects on contaminated sites (genotoxicity in children exposed to heavy metals in mining zones; neurological impairments in children exposed to flouride and arsenic through natural contamination; child exposure to pesticides in agricultural zones; and apoptosis of immune cells in children exposed to DDT in malaria-stricken areas). Likewise, support has been received for programmes on toxicovigilance. Throughout the state, a medical surveillance network has been established among students of social service disciplines. Students monitor levels of persistent organic contaminants in samples of maternal milk. Contact has been established with the Pediatric College and training activities are being developed for pediatricians. These include courses on clinical toxicology and discussion groups. Furthermore, support is being furnished for projects dedicated to the creation of educative programmes on interventions in contaminated sites. These programmes focus on children exposed to contaminants and diverse educational materials have been produced. More details on the activities of the Unit and some of the educational materials listed above can be found on the following Web site: Versión original - español.

WHO Media Award on Children's Health and Environment

WHO/Europe will be giving a Media Award to mark the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health (Budapest, June 2004). As the theme of the conference is "The Future of Our Children", entries on topics relevant to children's health and environment are currently being solicited. Categories for submissions include documentaries, short films, or programming (the later of which must be made for or by young people). Entries should come from countries of the WHO European Region and cover topics present in that region. For more details, please see: