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Item 13.5: Health and the environment: draft road map for an enhanced global response to the adverse health effects of air pollution

Last updated: 10.06.2016 //                             

Thank you Chair,

The Roadmap for an enhanced global response to the health effects of air pollution represents the follow-up to last year’s resolution 68.8 on the same topic, and was indeed requested by that resolution. The resolution also requested the DG to exercise global health leadership, and WHO to significantly strengthen its capabilities in this field. The Road map responds to these needs. It provides for a scale-up of WHO capabilities at the central, regional and country levels. Chief among these are the expansion of the knowledge base, monitoring and reporting and institutional capacity strengthening. WHO is accelerating its global monitoring of air pollution exposures; updating guidelines; consolidating evidence of health and climate synergies; and expanding advocacy about the health impacts of this modern-day scourge. This sets out the right course to make WHO much more able to support member states in fighting the health effects of air pollution, and to be a much stronger player globally in supporting action. Particularly important is the role WHO has and will have with regard to the air pollution-related indicators under the SDG framework. These increased capacities, while important in themselves, also will support WHOs ability to exercise leadership on this issue. In a jointly written article in the newspaper The Guardian recently, DG Chan and the Foreign Minister of Norway Mr. Børge Brende pointed to the need to build a global coalition of health, environment and climate actors, to expand awareness and drive change. The commitment of the WHOs leadership is there, but the WHO has a long way to go before it can truly lead globally on this issue. The roadmap is a big step in that direction, and we think it is important that that commitment is anchored also in the governing bodies of the organization.

We consequently would like to propose, together with Colombia, France, Germany, Monaco, Panama and Uruguay, a draft decision as contained in A69/A/CONF/9, which is in line with the proposed action point in document A69/18, and which reads:

The Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly, having considered the report of the Secretariat on health and the environment: draft road map for an enhanced global response to the adverse health effects of air pollution, decided:

(1) to endorse the road map for an enhanced global response to the adverse health effects of air pollution; and

(2) request the Director-General to report regularly on progress towards an enhanced global response to the adverse health effects of air pollution to the Health Assembly.

Thank you.