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Tackle air quality for the climate and public health

HEAL participated at the second WHO Global Conference on Health and Climate, which aimed to set the health action agenda for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Participants discussed a range of topics such as the benefits of switching to cleaner energy sources to reduce level of climate and air pollutants.

The meeting brought together 300 government ministers, health experts and practitioners, NGOs, and experts in climate change and sustainable development. HEAL’s Health and Climate Change Coordinator Vijoleta Gordeljevic participated at the two-day conference.

Participants discussed a wide range of topics including the benefits of switching to cleaner energy sources to reduce levels of climate and air pollutants, the role of the health sector in promoting low-carbon healthcare facilities and technologies to improve service delivery and safe costs; and sustainable food production and healthier diets to improve the environment and reduce non-communicable diseases.

As a contribution to the upcoming international UN climate negotiations COP22, participants proposed key actions for the implementation of the Paris agreement to reduce health risks linked to climate change.

Experts predict that, by 2030, climate change will cause an additional 250,000 deaths each year from malaria, diarrheal disease, heat stress and under nutrition alone. At the same time, nearly seven million people each year die from diseases caused by air pollution, such as lung cancer and stroke, which is why many participants pointed to the urgency of acting.

The conference made clear that different stakeholder groups need to work together to highlight ways to address climate change and improve health. This could happen through for example a broad health and environment climate coalition.

During the conference, HEAL’s Executive Director Genon K. Jensen highlighted the need to tackle air quality for the climate and public health in a Euractiv Editorial. By implementing clean air policies, governments can save lives and cut health costs while mitigating climate change, writes Génon Jensen.

Web link to all conference materials: www.who.int/phe

The new WHO Climate and Health Country Profiles are available at http://www.who.int/globalchange/res...

Originally posted on 27 July 2016

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »

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HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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