Co-founded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union

Co-founded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union



The Consortium, composed by 11 partners in Europe and Central Asia, launches the Harmonee project (Harmonization And mutual Recognition of Master programmes in OccupatioNal and Environmental hEalth / HARMONEE) with the firm belief that the outcome of the actions will be very beneficial, especially for professors, students and alumni of Universities in Central Asia.
The HARMONEE project wants to continue the actions put in practice during the CANERIEH project (2013-2016) and the TUTORIAL project (2017-2020) that were able to improve educational methods in Central Asia and to create an international network of teachers, scientists and administrative staff members.

Our Goals

Main goals of this 3-year action is

Countering environmental threats, endemic in Central Asia, is still of key importance. Therefore, capacity building in environmental health expertise is warranted. A teach the teacher, interdisciplinary approach is proposed. The HARMONEE consortium will consist of nine Central Asian Higher Education Institutes (CA HEIs) in four different countries and two European Universities. Global trends, such as climate change, population growth, urbanisation, deforestation, increased demand for food, and the strong increase in international trade and travel pose grand challenges to society as a whole, including serious risks to human, animal, and ecosystem health.


Global Challenges

Adequately meeting these global challenges should involve the development and implementation of durable interventions that emanate from an integrated and balanced perspective in which human, veterinary, wildlife, and environmental elements and considerations are integrated. In other words, optimal global health should be obtained by using a holistic approach.

This is strongly endorsed by the Sustainable Development Goals which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth.

An integrative approach involves interdisciplinary research and education by collaborations between several scientific disciplines and societal domains, to monitor, study, evaluate, model and control Public Health threats. 

This approach is defined as the integrative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals, and the environment, taking into account environmental, social, ecological and economical aspects. Global health involves several domains of relevance, such as One Health and environmental health, including toxicology and occupational health. The One Health concept recognizes that health of people is connected to animals and the environment and vice versa. From a more classical point of view, the main focus of One Health is on transmission of infectious diseases on the interface of humans, animals and the environment.

Environmental health addresses all the physical, chemical, and biological factors external to a person. It encompasses the assessment and control of those environmental factors that can potentially affect health, which includes housing, working environment, urban development, land use and transport. It is targeted towards preventing disease and creating health-supportive environments to contribute positively to Public Health. For clarity, throughout the rest of the proposal we will use the overall term Public Health to refer to the above addressed issues To effectively apply an integrative approach, it is necessary to foster interdisciplinary research and education in which regional issues can require a specific focus of interest within this large framework.


Environmental Health problems in CA are of pressing concern. Countries have to cope with comparatively stronger effect of climate change on health in CA, environmental pollution resulting from toxic waste disposal and air pollution, chemical waste from mining operations (gold, mercury, lead, antimony, asbestos, uranium). Nuclear waste is still present from testing of nuclear weapons within the former Soviet Union period and as disposal of nuclear waste from Western Europe. Also, air pollution from industry, heating processes, vehicular emissions and open combustion of solid waste is an important issue. These environmental pollutions with many toxic hotspots affect the health of people living in the neighbourhood of contaminated sites. Thereby, occupational health issues are crucial in CA, the same pollutants are also affecting the health of workers active in mining operations and involved in Capacity Building in the field of higher education. Recent implementation of recycling poses new occupational health issues. Moreover, zoonosis such as brucellosis & echinococcosis among farmers are persistently prevalent in all 4 CA countries. There is underreporting of occupational diseases and deaths. Local expertise in these domains is scarce, reports are often contradictory. The lack of resources and expertise has hampered the development of systematic and appropriate MSc education in Public Health. This is essential for appropriate surveillance programmes and advice in tackling these problems. The development of new modules for MSc programmes should be based on – International cooperation; – A Teach the Teacher approach to ensure a sustainable educational output in the region; – Strengthening of disciplines such as environmental epidemiology, toxicology, infectious diseases, exposures sciences, occupational health, risk assessment; – Exploration of interdisciplinarity; – Skills both on interdisciplinary and blended teaching.
In order to work on these urgent topics, the HARMONEE Consortium established this renewed alliance for the next three years.