HERA Context


Citizens across the EU and the world are extremely concerned by the deterioration of their environment and its effects on both human and ecosystem health.

As stated in the Ostrava declaration, regulators are now fully aware that “public authority shares the common responsibility for safeguarding the global environment and for promoting and protecting human health for all environmental hazards across generation and in all policies“. Several international and European agreements enforce coherent multi-sectoral strategies to improve environmental health condition (for example, improvement in air quality, safer drinking water and food, changes in farming practices (both agriculture and aquaculture practices), sustainable food production, reduction in environmental noise) in order to minimize the adverse effect and to reduce the exposure to hazardous chemicals and other stressors. 

The EU has launched a number of large projects both concerning ecosystems health and human health. Research has also been going on internationally highlighting common concerns related to global change but also specific issues, for example, water scarcity, contaminated soil or vector borne disease. Thus the research will address both global chronic long term effects, as well as local acute effects. Policy bodies such as WHO and OECD have analysed citizens’ needs and made specific recommendations. Therefore there is a wealth of research and policy backgrounds that constitute the arena for a research agenda

Research is expected to support decision-making at all levels and to help attaining the ultimate goals of protecting and improving ecosystem quality and human health. 

The shared HERA vision aims to identify both the environmental opportunities for health improvements, and the major environmental problems and challenges that need to be addressed.

Such an ambitious objective will only be possible through a close and continuous interactions with the numerous and diverse stakeholders that are particularly concerned by these issues at all levels – national, regional and European.