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Protecting and promoting human health is the subject of Chapter 6 of Agenda 21. Health and development are intimately interconnected. Both insufficient development leading to poverty and inappropriate development resulting in over-consumption, coupled with an expanding world population, can result in severe environmental health problems in both developed and developing countries.

About Health

The linkage of health, environmental and socio-economic improvements requires intersectoral efforts. Such efforts, involving education, housing, public works and community groups are aimed at enabling people in their communities to ensure sustainable development. Countries should develop plans for priority actions, drawing on the programme areas contained in Chapter 6, as follows:

  1. Meeting primary health care needs, particularly in rural areas;
  2. Controlling communicable diseases;
  3. Protecting vulnerable groups;
  4. Meeting the urban health challenge; and
  5. Reducing health risks from environmental pollution and hazards.

Human health has been discussed during nearly every CSD session, including the nineteenth Special Session of the General Assembly (Rio +5) and the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. 

Within the framework of the Commission’s current multi-year programme of work, health and sustainable development is considered each year as a cross-cutting issue within the context of the main sectoral issues taken up during each two-year cycle.