Updated March 19, 2002

For more information on activities in the area of Health,
please see the following Web pages:



Health, Nutrition and Population

Pan American Health Organization

Health mandates from the
Third Summit of the Americas


Follow Up to Health Mandates

Meeting of Ministers of Health and Environment

On March 4-5, 2002, the Meeting of Ministers of Health and Environment took place in Ottawa, Canada.  Thirty-one countries and several governmental and non-governmental organizations were present at the meeting, which was hosted by the Canadian government and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).  The speakers, who included Ann McLellan (Canadian Minister of Health), George Alleyne (Director of PAHO), Ricardo Sánchez Sosa (Regional Director of UNEP for Latin America and the Caribbean) and Maureen O’Neil (President of the IDRC of Canada), reviewed the activities that have taken place in the areas of health and the environment, in order to work towards developing policies for the future. 

The meeting began with a recount of what has been accomplished to date on the implementation of the Pan American Charter on Health and Environment in Sustainable Human Development.  Here, it was suggested that, instead of creating new mechanisms to address this issue, future initiatives ought to make use of existing mechanisms, such as those of the OAS.  Participants then discussed and agreed upon the most important areas of concern: clean air and water, basic sanitary measures, chemical safety, the need to understand the health implications of climate vulnerability and health impacts of natural disasters.  They also discussed the importance of knowledge and the exchange of information when forced to confront threats to health or the environment.  The importance of information accessibility and sharing of experiences was highlighted, especially for those in charge of decision-making.

Please click here to see the agenda from this meeting, as well as the presentation that the OAS gave during the conference.

Consultation on Bioterrorism

Dr. George A.O. Alleyne, the Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), convened a consultation meeting of experts on Bioterrorism on October 24, 2001, in Washington, DC. The objective of this meeting was to analyze the assistance and technical cooperation that PAHO will offer to the countries of the Americas in the efficient prevention, control and response to the security threats posed by this type of terrorism, since it endangers public health in the continent. For more information on this meeting, please click here.

Meeting of Health Ministers of the Americas 

From September 24-28, 2001, a Meeting of Health Ministers of the Americas took place in Washington, DC.  At the meeting, participating delegations approved five resolutions.  The first approved resolution considers the prevention and control of dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fevers in the hemisphere.  This resolution calls on Member States of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to promote inter-sectorial coordination, the adoption of sustainable measures in the areas of urban planning and services, public participation in programs for controlling dengue, the loaning of adequate assistance to the sick and the normalization of dengue case reporting. 

The second approved resolution takes into account mental health and how to diminish the stigmas and discrimination against those who suffer from this type of sickness.  Another resolution urges Member States to revise International Health Regulations, both at the national and regional levels.  The fourth resolution considers the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which was created upon recognizing the massive amount of tobacco use in the Americas and the negative consequences that it has on human health and the environment.  The participants also approved a fifth resolution on health promotion, which urges Member States to make health a priority within its plans and programs at the local and national levels. 

For more information on this Ministerial, please click here.

PAHO Report on the Summit of the Americas 

During its session of June 25-29, 2001, the Executive Committee of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) presented the Report on the Third Summit of the Americas (pdf format), which analyses the development of the Summit of the Americas process and examines the many questions that the continent faces in regards to health in the region, as a result of this process.  It also considers the role of PAHO within the framework of the Summit and urges it to continue supporting countries as they implement each Summit mandate.

Gender Inequality Recognized as Root Cause for Spread of HIV and AIDS

The United Nations General Assembly held a historic Special Session on HIV/AIDS from 24-27 June, during which there was overwhelming recognition by governments that gender inequality was fueling the epidemic. Participating in numerous panels and roundtables, UNIFEM's Executive Director called a 5-point Plan of Action to:  Guarantee Women and Girls Equal Access to Prevention and Treatment; Prioritize Educating and Informing Women and Girls about HIV/AIDS; Recognize Gender Equality in Policy; Provide Women Controlled Prevention Methods and Gender Sensitive HIV/AIDS Related Data; End HIV Transmissions in Conflict Situations;  UNIFEM's Executive Director also stressed that the design of the Global Fund for AIDS must put gender equality at its center.  For more information, visit www.unifem.undp.org.

XII Inter-American Meeting, at the Ministerial Level, on Health and Agriculture 

For the first time ever, Ministers of Health and Agriculture participated in the XII Inter-American Meeting on Health and Agriculture, which took place on May 2-4, 2001, in São Paulo, Brazil.  The objective of the meeting was to discuss matters of common interest for the health and agriculture sectors in the region.  The discussion included two panels: one on community participation in food protection and the other on zoonoses of importance for the economy and public health.  Participants, including delegates from 35 Member States and at the Ministerial level, also considered the implications of reforms in the livestock sector for the eradication of foot-and-mouth disease and other aspects of animal health, productive municipios and food security at the local level.  For more information on this event, please see the Report on the XII Inter-American Meeting, at the Ministerial Level, on Health and Agriculture.

Updated March 19, 2002