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Health promotion and disease prevention: improved inter-sector co-operation for environment and health based interventions

Specific challenge: Better health promotion and disease prevention interventions can make a significant contribution to equitable health improvements and thus the sustainability of health and care systems. A “health in all policies” approach has been identified as a promising means to stimulate and foster environments that support health, wellbeing and behavioural change.  This requires a multi-sector approach that aims to improve health by addressing such factors as housing; water and sanitation systems; transportation; exposure to chemicals and their mixtures; communication, education and information; occupational factors, physical activity, food production and distribution, and the physical, natural and social environments.

Scope: Given the breadth of sectors, the scope of this topic is limited to the integration of environment, climate and health sectors (including but not limited to air quality, water and sanitation, chemicals, occupational factors, etc.).

Using a multidisciplinary approach and involving relevant stakeholders such as policy makers, the private sector, civil society organisations and so on, proposals should address all of the following elements:

  • Develop inter-sector interventions (and/or policy initiatives) to promote health or prevent disease based on known environmental stressors. These inter-sector interventions should address key environmental stressors for which changes in relevant EU and international policies related to environment, climate and health would have the greatest impact. In the development of these interventions, age and gender aspects should be taken into account where appropriate.
  • Document success characteristics of the abovementioned inter-sector  interventions, including those factors that help to overcome barriers to inter-sector co-operation; contextual factors such as the interplay between politics and economics should be addressed;


  • Assess these inter-sector interventions for their health, economic and social benefits and their impact on reducing inequalities.

In line with the Union’s strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation[1], research activities should be developed as a European contribution and collaborate with existing international activities and those under development.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 4 and 6 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.           


Expected impact: This should provide:

  • On the basis of quantitative and qualitative indicators, evidence on effective interventions taking a ‘health in all’ approach, linking environment, climate and health, allowing informed decisions on multi-sector interventions and related policies.
  • Impact on health and care systems and other public services in terms of their sustainability,
  • Contribution to the EU commitment to the Rio+20 agenda and the new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as to the Parma declaration 2010.    

Type of action: Research and innovation actions

[1] COM(2012)497