Advice to Council 02-01 — Children’s Health and the Environment in North America

DISTRIBUTION: General
J/02-01/ADV/02-01/Rev.1
ORIGINAL: English

Children’s Health and the Environment in North America

The Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) of North America;

IN ACCORDANCE with Article 16(4) of the NAAEC, that JPAC “may provide advice to the Council on any matter within the scope of this agreement (…) and on the implementation and further elaboration of this agreement, and may perform such other functions as the Council may direct”;

HAVING held a very productive joint public meeting on 7 March 2002 with the Expert Advisory Board on Children’s Health and the Environment in North America, reviewed and received comments on the draft Cooperative Agenda for Children’s Health and the Environment in North America;

REITERATING our view that children’s environmental health is a very important issue meriting the CEC’s continuing attention;

UNDERSTANDING that children’s health and the environment is a broad, cross-cutting issue touching most, if not all, of the CEC’s program of work;

SEEKING to build on the Children’s Health and the Environment initiative to enhance synergies and linkages between health and environmental sectors, within and outside of government;

AWARE that the Expert Advisory Board on Children’s Health and the Environment in North America will be providing its detailed advice to Council;

JPAC offers the following recommendations:

  1. Development of a systematic approach for effectively linking children’s health with broader issues related to the health effects and risks of pollutants and toxic substances;
  2. New North American Regional Action Plans (NARAPs) should identify the status of current data and discuss the risks to children’s health. It is also considered very important that the NARAP on monitoring and assessment, currently under development, contain these features;
  3. Future work on lead, mercury, particulates and diesel fuel emissions should incorporate the need to better understand and prevent or reduce effects on children’s health and other vulnerable groups, and continue to build on work already underway;
  4. Consider a focus on children at higher risk, such as indigenous children and children of migrant farm workers;
  5. Risks and exposure to children should be incorporated into the substance selection criteria for candidate chemicals that are considered for future NARAPs;
  6. Support the publication of a special report on toxics and children’s environmental health as part of the Taking Stock series (currently in preparation) to inform policy makers and increase public awareness in North America; and
  7. Capitalize on the experiences gained through the North American Fund for Environmental Cooperation (NAFEC) projects in particular those on Children’s Health focus.

Regarding further development of the Cooperative Agenda for Children’s Health and the Environment in North America, JPAC recommends the following:

On related matters, JPAC further recommends the following: