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Report on Health and Environment in Turku, Finland Launched by WHO Director

Arendal/Turku, 23 August 1999 - A health and environment report for the city of Turku, Finland, was today launched by Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the city of Arendal, Norway.

Based on themes for well being and health, the report includes 12-14 indicators, which show a "well-being chain". Among them, the present status of the city, an overview of the factors that may alter that status, the current problems and how they are being handled. The report will serve as a tool to assist local politicians and residents in the management of their environmental resources and in decision-making that will be a guide to sustainable development.

"WHO seeks to combat disease and ill-health by promoting sustainable and equitable health systems in all countries", said Mrs. Brundtland. "Good health is closely related to a healthy environment. The fact is, they are intertwined. I expect the state of the environment report of Turku to become a model for other cities globally", she said.

Also taking part at the launching ceremony was Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, which is responsible for the GRID-Arendal. With Mr. Toepfer, were a representative from WHO "Healthy Cities Programme", the mayors of Arendal and Turku, Heini Parkkunen and members of the staff from GRID-Arendal.

GRID-Arendal is carrying out a programme, Cities Environment Report on the Internet (CEROI). Turku is a pilot city in the programme. CEROI, defined as "A network of cities putting environmental information to work", is a programme within the framework of Local Agenda 21 to facilitate access to environmental information for sound decision-making and general awareness-raising in cities. A template and a software programme are being developed to create a simple and easily understood state of the environment report for cities on the Internet.

The reports give an overview of human-induced impact on the environment for selected thematic topics; they indicate the present state of the environment and current trends; show political responses to these trends; indicate to what degree these responses have been attained; and allow the end-user to compare the environmental situation in various cities.

The report is available on the Internet at http://www.ceroi.net/reports/turku/.

For more information: Heini Parkkunen is the contact person for the WHO programme "Healthy Cities" in Turku. Email: heini.parkkunen@turku.fi. She has been coordinating the preparation of the health and environment report in cooperation with GRID-Arendal. 23 August, the date of the launch of the report, also marks the 10th anniversary of GRID-Arendal. In Nairobi, contact: Tore J. Brevik, UNEP Spokesman and Director of Communications and Public Information Branch, Nairobi, Kenya. Tel: (254-2) 623292; Fax: 623692; Email: tore.brevik@unep.org

UNEP News Release 1999/TURK

Monday 23 Aug 1999
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