At the conclusion of the First WHO Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health this week in Geneva, Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “Our dream is a world free of air pollution. To get there, we need to set an aspirational goal to reduce the number of deaths from air pollution by two-thirds by 2030.” Said Dr Tedros, “We are eager to hear the views of countries and partners on this target, and we need to do more work together on the scientific foundation for it.”
Dr. Tedros expressed WHO commitments on five key points, including:
- Working towards universal electrification of health facilities with sustainable energy by 2030 to support universal health care access.
- Establish a new multi-stakeholder Global Energy-Health Platform of Action to achieve power of health workers to be agents of change.
- Equipping health workers to be agents of change, equipping them with the capacity and tools to educate their patients and decision-makers about the health effects of air pollution, and to have their say in shaping mitigation policies.
- Scaling up WHO’s own Air Pollution programme, globally, regionally and in countries, including through establishment of a Trust Fund with other partners on climate, environment and health, which could access climate and environment finance directly.
- Strengthening institutional mechanisms, including exploration of an air quality convention.
“Clean energy in health facilities. Political leadership. Harnessing the power of health workers. Expanding our air pollution programme. Strong international mechanisms. These are the five strategies we will use to achieve a two-thirds reduction in global mortality from air pollution by 2030. “
Leaders from national and city governments, intergovernmental organizations, civil society, philanthropy, research and academia gathered at WHO’s headquarters this week to consider the scientific evidence on air pollution and health and the solutions to improve air quality.
The Clean Air for Health Action Agenda conference summary issued today emphasizes the urgent need for bold and prompt action to address this health crisis.
The WHO Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health was organized in collaboration with UN Environment, World Meteorological Organization, Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC), UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the World Bank and the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).