Countries, international organizations, including organs and organizations of the United Nations system, and non-governmental organizations should exploit various initiatives for electronic links to support information sharing, to provide access to databases and other information sources, to facilitate communication for meeting broader objectives, such as the implementation of Agenda 21, to facilitate intergovernmental negotiations, to monitor conventions and efforts for sustainable development, to transmit environmental alerts, and to transfer technical data. These organizations should also facilitate the linking of different electronic networks and the use of appropriate standards and communication protocols for the transparent interchange of electronic communications. Where necessary, new technology should be developed and its use encouraged to permit participation of those not served at present by existing infrastructure and methods. Mechanisms should also be established to carry out the necessary transfer of information to and from non-electronic systems to ensure the involvement of those not able to participate in this way.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the UN Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.
In most states there is a critical need to build evidence-based communication capacities. Communication strategies need to be developed and implemented. Such strategies should engage all players, i.e. policy-makers, the media, NGOs, environmental educators and professionals, and private sector advertisers. These communication networks should be used to deliver key environmental health messages. Communication is not a one-way process – it should stimulate debate and dialogue and feed back into decision-making processes. WHO/EURO is developing a glossary of environmental health terms, to assist common understanding. States are encouraged to use the glossary and to develop equivalent glossaries in their own national languages.