On November 13th, 2023, the Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva, Amb. Vincenzo Grassi, co-chaired, together with his Dutch counterpart, Amb. Paul Bekkers, the opening session of the Strategic Roundtable on Strengthening Resilience to climate change in the context of the Water and Health Protocol, organized at the Palais des Nations by UNECE and the WHO European Regional Office, in collaboration with the Italian and Dutch Ministries of Health, the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS) and the Dutch Ministry for Infrastructure and Water.
In his speech, Ambassador Grassi underlined the Italian commitment to defining and financing the proposed activities, including through international cooperation instruments and inclusive public-private partnership policies, in order to ensure everyone the fundamental right to access safe water, in line with the global sustainable development goals (in particular SDG6, relating to “Clean water and sanitation”).
The Italian Permanent Representative also recalled the recent approval of a draft law by the Italian Council of Ministers, authorizing the ratification of the”Water and Health” Protocol of the 1992 UNECE Convention, as further evidence of the paramount importance Italy assigns to access to water and its linkages with the theme of global health, combining the “One Health” approach with the “One Water” approach.
During the roundtable it was also highlighted how, in the field of prevention and health protection, Italy has developed a specific line of investment relating to the “Health, Environment, Biodiversity and Climate”, closely linked to Mission 6-Health of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), which aimed at strengthening the capacity, effectiveness and resilience of our country in addressing current and future health impacts associated with environmental and climate risks, in accordance with a “One-Health” vision.
Finally, as further proof of the importance Italy attaches to water resources, the “SeaCare” project was introduced, which involves the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS), in cooperation with the Navy and the Regional Agency for Prevention and the Environment of Emilia-Romagna, for the study of the health of the oceans in line with the “Planetary Health” vision.