Cross-border collaboration extends beyond conferences
July 7, 2023

This week, a LinkedIn group focused on environmental health in the Euregio Meuse Rhine (EMR) was established. This is a follow-up to the EMR conference on environmental health held on 22 June in Eupen. At the conference, participants came to the initiative of establishing a group for further, more concrete, and meaningful exchanges. The LinkedIn group comprises conference participants from different levels (local and regional) and diverse backgrounds (policy makers and health professionals).

The conference achieved its goal of highlighting common public health challenges related to the environment in the EMR and showcasing local best practices. However, participants realized that relying solely on conferences to share knowledge is insufficient for addressing the problem at hand. It is merely the beginning of our journey towards finding solutions. Establishing genuine connections with each other and consolidating the knowledge we have gained is crucial. The LinkedIn group will thus facilitate cross-border information sharing and provide a platform for members to discuss challenges, difficulties and specific needs.

Brigitte van der Zanden, director of euPrevent, shared her perspective on this: “We often share a vast amount of knowledge with one another without receiving much in return. We tend to remain confined within our own areas of expertise. Although we acknowledge this limitation, overcoming it presents a huge challenge. We frequently ask ourselves how we can break this pattern, but we struggle to find an answer. This is where the LinkedIn group becomes invaluable for fostering collaboration on the topic of environmental health in the border region.”

Michael Dejozé, Director of the EGTC Euregio Meuse-Rhine, which supported the EMR-conference and euPrevent adds: “The aim of the EGTC EMR is to facilitate the exchange between stakeholders on any kind of topic, such as healthcare and safety. Seeing that the issue of environmental health is at the junction of both these issues, I applaud the initiative of starting a network of like-minded people.” The establishment of this LinkedIn group aligns with the participants’ needs: instead of relying solely on presentations, there is a growing emphasis on encouraging diverse engagement and fostering genuine connections, mutual understanding and sustainable collaboration. By strengthening bonds within the group, barriers can be overcome, and information can be freely shared across borders. Additionally, it creates an environment where organizations feel comfortable expressing their challenges and seeking assistance, knowing that someone within the group may be able to offer support. These are the keys to our sustainable cross-border collaboration on environmental health in the EMR!

If you are also interested in the environmental health in the EMR, here you can find the group “Environmental Protection and Health without Borders”: