Health Desk:14 January 2018: UN Environment and WHO had agreed a new, wide-ranging collaboration to accelerate action to curb environmental health risks that cause an estimated 12.6 million deaths a year.
In Nairobi, Mr Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, and Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, signed an agreement to step up joint actions to combat air pollution, climate change and antimicrobial resistance, as well as improve coordination on waste and chemicals management, water quality, and food and nutrition issues.
The collaboration also includes joint management of the BreatheLife advocacy campaign to reduce air pollution for multiple climate, environment and health benefits.
This represents the most significant formal agreement on joint action across the spectrum of environmental and health issues in over 15 years.
"There is an urgent need for our two agencies 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 recognizes that sober reality," said UN Environment’s Solheim.
"Our health is directly related to the health of the environment we live in. Together, air, water, and chemical hazards kill more than 12.6 million people a year. This must not continue," said WHO’s Tedros.
The new collaboration creates a more systematic framework for joint research, development of tools and guidance, capacity building, monitoring of Sustainable Development Goals, global and regional partnerships, and support to regional health and environment fora.