Health and environment. Modified the Italian Constitution, in The Lancet, experts and politicians highlight the value of the new formulations

The contribution, which has just been published on Lancet Regional Health Europe, stress the importance of amending Articles 9 and 41 of the Constitution in order to include the protection of the environment among the fundamental principles of the Italian legal system. “It also means increasing the level of protection of the health of citizens, in particular of the most vulnerable groups such as children and the sick / elderly”, underline Emiliano, Piscitelli and Miani (SIMA), Costa (former Minister of ‘Environment), Costa (undersecretary alla Salute), Caputo (Campania region), Schittulli (LILT), Bonabello (OSCE), Pollice (Uni .Salento), Pecoraro Scanio (former Minister of the Environment), Uricchio ( ANVUR). THE TEXT

07 APRIL – Published, on the eve of World Health Day, dedicated this year to the theme “Our planet, our health”, an all-Italian contribution which, on Lancet Regional Health Europe wanted to underline the importance of the green light from the Italian parliament, on February 8, for the modification of articles 9 and 41 of the Italian Constitution in terms of the protection of the environment and ecosystems. The document bears the signature of the President of the Puglia Region, Michele Emiliano, from Prisco Piscitelli And Alessandro Miani (Vice President and President of SIMA), Sergio Costa (Former Minister of the Environment), Andrea Costa (Under Secretary of Health), Nicholas Caputo (Regional councilor for agriculture and forests of Campania), Francesco Schittulli (LILT President), Marco Bonabello (Director of Economic and Environmental Security of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly), Fabio Pollice (geographer and rector of the University of Salento), Alphonse Pecoraro Scanio (former Minister of the Environment), Antonio Felice Uricchio (Lawyer and President of ANVUR).
“Extend constitutional protection to the environment and ecosystems it also means increasing the level of health protection for citizens, especially the most vulnerable groups such as children and the sick/elderly,” the article points out. In particular, explain the experts, “the Parliament reformulated the former article 9 of the Constitution, which spoke generically of the protection of the landscape, but also article 41 on the freedom of private economic initiative, clearly specifying that “it cannot be exercised in opposition to social utility” or when it undermines security, freedom, human dignity, health and the environment, provide for programs and adequate controls so that public and private economic activities can be directed and coordinated towards social and environmental ends”.

A contribution which, as Emiliano explains in a note, also look at Taranto. “Everyone can easily understand the repercussions that can have on all territories, including Puglia, the possibility of invoking a constitutional provision clearly focused on the protection of human health that also takes into account its environmental determinants. Strengthened also by the new constitutional coverage, we will not tire of continuing to demand a solution for Taranto capable of protecting the environment and health”.

He is the president of the Italian Society of Environmental Medicine (SIMA), Alessandro Mianito explain the meaning of the ad above Lancet“We wanted to give the greatest possible place also in the medical and scientific community to this memorable constitutional passage made by our country, so that it could be an example at least for the other Member States of the European Union in the aim of inserting environmental protection into their respective legal systems. The coincidence of this publication with today’s World Health Day is all the more appropriate since everything we do for the environment is reflected automatically by a benefit to human health. Based on this evidence, the WHO also defines the climate crisis we are living through as the greatest threat to the health of humanity, estimating at more than 13 million the number of deaths that occur every year in the world due to environmental causes”.

“The Constitutional Amendment to Protect the Environment and biodiversity is in line with the One Health approach, which recognizes the interdependence of human health and ecosystems, adopted by the EU with a view to preventing antibiotic resistance and future epidemics or pandemics originating from zoonoses, as in testifies to the current pandemic of COVID-19 “, underlines the first signatory of the article Priscus Piscitelli, Epidemiologist Vice-President of SIMA, appointed by President Michele Emiliano for relations with international scientific institutions. “But the constitutional implementation of environmental protection also opens up new possibilities for applying the precautionary principle enshrined in Article 191 of the current Treaties for the functioning of the European Union, the application of which has up to ‘has now been difficult in real situations, such as authorization procedures for activities with potential impact on the environment, precisely because of the lack of clear references in our legal system’.

07 April 2022
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