Health and the environment: Inheriting a sustainable world

26 May, 2017
Geneva, Switzerland

Health and the environment: Inheriting a sustainable world

Friday, May 26, 2017 - 12:30–14:15
Side event at the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland - Palais des Nations, Salle XII


Around 12.6 million deaths a year are due to preventable environmental health risks (WHO, 2016), which represents 23% of the global burden of disease. This includes a large and growing burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) from air pollution and unsustainable urbanization as well as continuing infectious diseases risks related to water, sanitation, vectors and emerging risks from climate change.

These environmental risks are a critical and pressing concern for the public health community. Global action is key to combating this epidemic of environment-related diseases. These same actions will contribute to attaining the Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly regarding air pollution related mortality (Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3), access to clean energy (SDG 7), resilience and mitigation of climate change (SDG 13), access to water and sanitation (SDG 6), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11) and sound management of chemicals and waste (SDG12).

The event will showcase success stories and solutions from countries and municipalities that have successfully managed to tackle environmental health risks, resulting from polluted air and water as well as sanitation and chemical hazards. These stories also illustrate how action in different sectors can increase resilience and mitigate climate change. Addressing environmental risks emerging from other sectors is a strategic way to generate investments in health as well as focusing on the primary prevention of disease.

The briefing will also feature major WHO initiatives to bring Member States and international organizations together to advocate and take action to implement evidence-based technical interventions, building of political will, and sharing of experiences. This will include the recent coalition of WHO, UNEP, and WMO on climate change, health and environment, and initiatives to prevent diseases caused by air pollution such as WHO’s Urban Health Initiative being implemented with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition.


More information is available on the World Health Organisation website.

Event contact

Sandra Cavalieri,
Urban Health Initiative Coordinator
Sandra.Cavalieri [at]


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