BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 17 Jan '18

WHO and UN’s Environment Programme team up to protect ‘foundations for life’ on Earth

Two United Nations agencies are teaming up in a new initiative to combat environmental health risks, which claim an estimated 12.6 million lives a year.

‘Our health is directly related to the health of the environment we live in. Together, air, water and chemical hazards kill some 12.6 million people a year. This cannot and must not continue.’

TEDROS GHEBREYESUS
Director-general of WHO

Recognising ‘a sober reality’

The partnership between the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) includes specific action to address air pollution, climate change and antimicrobial resistance as well as improve coordination on waste and chemicals management, water quality and food and nutrition issues.

‘There is an urgent need for [us] to work more closely together to address the critical threats to environmental sustainability and climate – which are the foundations for life on this planet. This new agreement recognises that sober reality.’

ERIK SOLHEIM
Executive director of UNEP

Breathe Life

The new collaboration has a particular focus on the developing world, as the worst impacts of environmental pollution and the related deaths occur in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The initiative also includes joint management of the Breathe Life advocacy campaign to reduce air pollution for multiple climate, environment and health benefits.

The two UN agencies have already worked together on a range of health and environment areas.

This latest partnership is, however, the most significant formal agreement on joint action across the breadth of environment and health issues in over 15 years, the agencies added.