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ISDE Documentation Centre for Environmental Policies (IDCEP)

(It is likely that this name will be changed as it is not a mere documentation centre but a centre from which projects will be created and promoted which arise from problems that can be demonstrated with scientific evidence.)

Documentation Centre aimed at assisting research activities of Doctors for the Environment, and supporting ISDE counselling and educational policies as well, by collecting and organising its environmentally relevant scientific production.

History of the idea

The Canadian President, Dr. Tee L. Guidotti prompted ISDE Vice President, Dr. Elisabet Lindgren to suggest that a specific ISDE editorial activity should be initiated. At the meeting of ISDE Executive Board in Paris (1995), the proposal that the Scientific Office should set up a Documentation Centre was discussed and favourably considered. It was judged that it would provide a working model for the national associations to co-operate.

This project for an ISDE Documentation Centre was then discussed and approved at the Directing Committee's meeting in Cortona (1996), where Peter Van den Hazel, European Vice President, put forward an excellent proposal underlining the need to move from compiling reports and collecting information to making specific proposals leading to effective action.


  1. To foster and activate initiatives and effective actions in response to urgent problems as documented by the reports.

  2. To collect and disseminate original scientific papers (ISDE reports) for the general public, media, government officials, and fellow doctors.

  3. To study environmental decay and its influence on human health..

  4. To stimulate an interaction between the national associations of Doctors for the Environment as well as with qualified national and international bodies.

  5. To support the ISDE School and the ISDE Bulletin.


Each national association of Doctors for the Environment is to identify a field of inquiry (and nominate an appropriate international co-ordinator) for which they will undertake to prepare an original monograph or report. This will provide a basis for defining what initiatives are to be carried out, mainly on a national level.

General Format

The report should contain:

  1. The environmental problem. This general introduction will comprise a survey of recent literature on the subject and make clear the international importance of the issue.

  2. Health Hazards. A description of the relationship between the environmental problem and the resulting health problems, especially as regards toxicology and epidemiology. The environmental, epidemiological and normative data related to the individual nation concerned may also be included in a separate appendix.

  3. Preventive and protective action. Recommendations in general terms which would be valid for all countries. This section will also comprise a survey of recent literature (not only medical) on the subject. Reports on national and international legislation (and their implications) on the issue will be also included here.

  4. Advocated Agenda. All that is advisable to include in a long term policy aiming to avert, reduce or contrast the health threat in the long run. Proposals must also be made as to what potential changes in attitudes and behaviour national associations and individual doctors can support acting as social agents.

Format guidelines for the reports are as follows:

The text shall be introduced by an abstract of no more than 25 lines. The total length must not exceed 30 pages including tables, graphs and references which must be up to date and must refer progressively to the numbers cited in the text.

In addition to this document, an informative leaflet should be added.

Further developments

Ideally, all national associations should be ready to make a contribution to the different problem areas, depending on their current interests and competency in any specific field. Whenever the activity resulting from a national association on a specific issue proves to be particularly distinctive, the national association concerned shall be able to establish an ISDE Specialised Centre (Art.9 of the Scientific Office Regulations). At any time, any national association may expand its field of specific interest as it acquires greater competence in order to provide a scientific contribution and offer proposals on this particular issue.

The person nominated as National reference person should be preferably an acknowledged expert, with good access to and ability to use epidemiological and normative data. This referent will collaborate with the international co-ordinator and will, in particular, be able to supply any relevant information, also including examples of local experiences.

The Scientific Office, through its bodies (the Executive Board, the Scientific Committee, the Presidential Office), is in charge of collecting all the original papers sent by the national referents and forwarding them to the international co-ordinators. It is also in charge of the general co-ordination, supervision and publication of the volume of reports or of the individual reports themselves, and of promoting special training courses which will utilise the reports and have the authors as lecturers.

The activities of ISDE Documentation Centre are to integrated with those of the Working Expertise Group promoted by the ISDE Directing Committee.


Some national ISDE associations have already engaged themselves to prepare original scientific reports on "Water Pollution" (The Netherlands), "Atmospheric Pollution" (Canada), "Health & Sustainability in Cities" (ISDE Scientific Office - Italy), "Traffic and Health" (Austria), "The Right of Children to a Pollution-Free Life" (Italy), "Genetic Manipulation" (Switzerland).

Subject Matter

The Directing Committee of each National Association identifies a field of inquiry, the International Co-ordinator and the National Referents for other subjects


Are compiled by the International Co-ordinator with the support of the national referents and the ISDE Scientific Office


Are carried out by the national executives.


ISDE Directing Committee

  • identifies policy and strategic guidelines

  • stimulates interest in particular fields of inquiry

  • promotes international operational projects based on the reports

ISDE Scientific Office

(Executive Board, Scientific Committee, Presidential Office)

  • co-ordinates, from an organisational viewpoint, the management of the Documentation Centre

  • files and distributes the papers received

  • supervises and publishes the reports

  • promotes specific courses

The National Associations

  • identify a field of inquiry (report/project) and nominate the International Co-ordinator

  • are available to collaborate on other fields of inquiry and nominate the National Referent

  • arrange for operational initiatives (projects) based on the reports

  • may set up an ISDE Specialised Centre (in accordance with Art.9 of the Scientific Office Regulations)

The International Co-ordinator

  • is nominated by the Directing Committee of the National Association concerned

  • receives copies of all papers arriving at the Scientific Office from the National Referents

  • compiles the report every two years

  • will be the lecturer at an eventual ISDE special course

  • collaborates with ISDE in identifying eventual specific international strategies

The National Referents

  • are nominated by the Directing Committee of their National Association

  • collaborate with the International Co-ordinators of the different fields of inquiry by supplying specific national documents and information

  • are to be cited among the authors of the report

  • are to be involved by their National Association in defining operational projects

  • are to be involved in a privileged way in ISDE courses

Two examples of IDCEP activities:
Healthy and Sustainable Cities Campaign
The Right of Children to a Pollution-Free Life Campaign.

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