Item 14.6: Health and the environment

For Norway, this is a big moment. We know that 7 milion people are dying every year from disease related to air pollution, and many more millions are ill at any time from this diseases. This makes air pollution the second largest risk of mortality of the world, when you combine indoor and outdoor air pollution.

By adopting this resolution, the Member States of the WHO will decide to redouble their efforts to prevent health impacts of air pollution, throug a multisectoral national response, and  through regional and international cooperation. The positive story is that the necessary action to be taken to prevent the deaths is known, and when implemented, these measures will have almost immediate effect. In addition, many of the measures will also have a positive climate impact. This means that the deaths from air pollution are avoidable and unneccessary.

We look forward to working with all member states in tackling air pollution, including through the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. We also look forward to continued excellent coooperation with the WHO Secretariat. We highly appreciate the work and leadership of the WHO in this area, which they have perrformed with a minimum of resources. The resolution requests the DG to significantly strengthen WHO’s  capacities in the field of air pollution and health, something we believe is absolutely needed. We are confident that this resolution will ensure that air polluiton will be recognized as a priority issue for the WHO throughtout the organization.

It is clear to us that there is an urgent need to increase awareness this issue. Therefore, we appreciate that the resolution requests member states to enable the health system to take a leading role in raising awareness in the public and among all stakeholders of the impatcts of air pollution on health and opportunities to reduce or avoid exosure. Norway will cntinue working with the WHO on this, including under the Climate and Clean Air Coalition.

The chair of the drafting group will speak on the resolution when we return to that issue after lunch, but we would like to thank all those that participated in the drafting group, and especially the other co-sponsors of the resolution who have worked so hard on the resolution text for many months. Finally, we would also like to express our warm gratitude t the WHO secretariat, their work on this issue over the past eyars, as well as this week with providing the scientific evidence has been invaluable and highly appreciated. We strongly support this resolution, and hope it can be adopted.