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GP: Children's Health and Environment Action Plan for Europe (CEHAPE) - Austria

The CEHAPE is a document for policy makers addressing the environmental risk factors that most affect the health of European children. The CEHAPE is the latest international political instrument for an improvement of the environment and health situation of children in the whole WHO-Europe region. It was developed at the request of Member States and adopted by European Ministers at the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health (June 2004) on "The future for our children" in Budapest. Austria played a leading role in the preparation work as Lead Country for the CEHAPE.

This action plan highlights the main commitments on children's health and environment and details four regional priority goals (RPGs) for Europe. It is complemented by technical documents on ways to achieve these goals. These documents provide the framework for countries' national plans and policies as well as mechanisms and tools necessary for developing effective action and ensuring international support and collaboration.
The health impacts of environmental risk factors in a globalised world pose (beside the RPGs) new challenges to reduce deaths and diseases through effective environmental health interventions especially for children (such as climate change, socioeconomic and gender equalities). Therefore the following Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health “Protecting children's health in a changing environment” which will be held from March10-12, 2010 in Parma is the next milestone in the European environment and health process.

Children's Health and Environment Action Plan for Europe.


CEHAPE Follow up and Austria’s CEHAPE

The Austrian Children´s Environment and Health Action Plan was developed with the support of numerous government offices, experts and stakeholders at the behest of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Environment and Water Management as well as of the Federal Ministry of Health. During the WHO - Midterm Review Conference in June 2007 in Vienna the national CEHAP was published from the Austrian Ministers of Health and Environment. It formulates targets for a healthy environment for children and contains 84 measures in all RPGs and youth participation.

Austria focuses the actions within the CEHAPE on RPG II and youth participation. Very well implemented is the Austrian-wide impulse program climate:active mobil "Mobility Management in schools and youths" of the Ministry of Environment. Since 2005 120 schools were consulted carrying out school mobility management plans in order to raise traffic safety, to reduce greenhouse gases and improving children´s health by promoting walking and cycling. Therefore a mobility team in each school analyses the school environment and the mobility behaviour of the pupils and teachers and develops special measures for supporting safe walking and cycling in collaboration with local authorities and regions. The measures include infrastructure as well as awareness raising (e.g. traffic calming measures, pedibus, bicycle repair courses, mobility action days). The evaluation of the programme shows that with these measures 355.000 car-trips could be supplemented through walking and cycling. 96 % of the teacher stated, that the results of the actions achieving "very good" and "good" sustained success. Furthermore a number of workshops were launched for non-school related youth organisations promoting youth and environmentally friendly mobility on a regional level including the development of appropriate educational material. Moreover lots have done in the field of promoting cycling, such as campaigns for cycling with the Minister of Environment, development of a masterplan as well as various studies about cycling (e.g. health effects of cycling, cycling and "green jobs"). Furthermore the Austrian-wide youth participation process in the field of the CEHAPE with special focus on RPG II is of great importance. It includes youth involvement in developing the Austrian CEHAP, a youth survey carried out by other youths, training of 40 young CEHAPE-Coaches, who individually putting own youth projects into action, an intersectoral study on youth and mobility with an accompanying intersectoral workshop integrating the sectors youths, education and transport planners as well as  implementation of the Austrian Youth Environment Award 2009 and annually Youth Environment Days with more than 500 young participants and special focus on CEHAPE. In RPG III various measures were launched in order to reduce exhaust emissions from car-traffic: Austria implements the EU regulations to control emissions of motor vehicles: the Euro 5/6 emission standards for cars and light duty vehicles coming into force by Sept. 2009 and 2014, respectively; the EURO V/VI emission standards for heavy duty tracks being in force since Oct. 2008 and from Oct. 2014, respectively; the EU Directive on public purchasing of cleand and fuel-efficient vehicles. Since 2008 a purchase tax reduction (tax bonus € 500) is granted to vehicles with C02 emissions of less than 120 g/km and for cars that already fulfill the Euro VI standards on NOx emissions another 200 €. Also a tax incentive of € 500 is granted for alternative vehicles that use biofules, CNG, hybrid drive trains, fuel cells, hydrogen or LPG. A tax penalty (malus rate for each gram C02 above limit) is set for new cars with C02 emisssions of more thant 180 g/km and from 2010 this limit is lowered to 160 g/km. Also a tax penalty of € 300 is set for cars without a particle filter. The success of this incentive program for diesel particle filters has been proven by the annual sales statics: since 2005 there were only 8 % of diesel cars with a particle filter and by Dec. 2007 the percentage increased to 85 %; by May 2009 the share of diesel cars with a particle filter increase to almost 90 %. In RPG I a number of national awareness raising projects for protecing water were implemented and still ongoing (e.g. Generation Blue, Danube Box). The most important highlight in RPG III and IV are a national study on the quality of indoor air in elementary schools and the impact on the cognitive performance of the children, national human biomonitoring study on the exposure of families to special industrial chemicals, booklet on the sound use of domestic articles, which may lead to chemical exposure and on its reduction.


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