Environment and Health: An Overview of Current Trends at WHO and OECD

국제기구의 환경보건 분야 동향

  • Received : 2013.08.12
  • Accepted : 2013.08.26
  • Published : 2013.08.31


Background: Environmental hazards are responsible for as much as a quarter of the total world-wide burden of disease. Therefore, appropriate management of environmental hazards is a critical part of the effort to improve human health. This review aims to summarize current issues, topics, and programs at international institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in the area of environmental health. Results: The WHO European Center for Environmental Health (ECEH) plays a significant role in implementing environmental health policies and also takes the lead in related issues in Europe. It has developed an Environmental Health Information System and environmental health inequality indicators. In the environmental health area, the OECD focuses most on chemical management programs. It foresees that air pollution and chemical risk management will become the leading environmental health issues if appropriate measures are not taken. Several topics were identified that require greater effort in Korea, including cancer as an environment-related disease, an environmental health information system, and environmental health inequality issues. Conclusions: More active roles are expected from Korea in international societies, in part because of the introduction of the Environmental Health Act of 2008, and active involvement in related activities in WHO WPRO/SEARO. Understanding recent developments and concerns at major international organizations like WHO and the OECD will assist in the implementation of effective international collaboration and the identification of a better strategies for improving environmental health performances in Korea.


Environmental health;WHO;OECD;trends


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