Health, environment, and sustainable development

Healthy housing for a sustainable and equitable future – the WHO Housing and health guidelines

27 November 2018 – WHO launches the first guidelines on housing and health at the 15th International Conference on Urban Health in Kampala, Uganda. The WHO Housing and health guidelines highlight the increasing impact of housing conditions on human health in light of urban growth, climate and demographic changes. The guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations relevant to inadequate living space (crowding), low and high indoor temperatures, injury hazards in the home, and accessibility of housing for people with functional impairments. In addition, the guidelines identify and summarize existing WHO guidelines and recommendations related to housing, with respect to water quality, air quality, neighbourhood noise, asbestos, lead, tobacco smoke, and radon.

Health as the pulse of the new urban agenda

Urban health report cover
WHO

14 October 2016 – Health is the “pulse” of a city’s wellbeing, and as the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III convenes Sunday October 16 in Quito Ecuador, health needs to be the centrepiece of planning for the New Urban Agenda. See how this can happen in the new WHO report here

BreatheLife campaign: protecting health and the climate by improving air quality

The equation is simple: 7 million people a year die from air pollution related diseases. And many air pollutants also damage the climate. So reducing air pollution would save lives and help slow the pace of near-term climate change.

This new campaign is being led by WHO in partnership with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC).

Improving health by reducing health and climate risks

Mexico city’s 2014 mobility law guarantees the right to mobility  and prioritizes sustainable active transport.
karmacamilleeon/Flickr

Many sustainable development strategies can offer significant “win–wins” for health, climate and environment – and benefits can be almost immediate. This website highlights the policies and best practices, as well as tools, that promote healthy sustainable development. Equipped with knowledge and tools to promote “health in sustainable development”, health policy leaders and practitioners can become active partners with sectors such as transport, housing, energy, agriculture and industry in building healthier cities and rural environments.

New report: Reducing global health risks through mitigation of short-lived climate pollutants

A new WHO report highlights the urgent need to reduce emissions of black carbon, ozone and methane – as well as carbon dioxide, which all contributive to climate change. Black carbon, ozone and methane – frequently described as short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) – not only produce a strong global warming effect, they contribute significantly to the more than 7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution.

Air pollution, climate and health in the minds of artists

Ariel Charney

The BREATHE exhibit aims to catalyse conversation and reflection on the linkages between climate change, air pollution and health using multimedia arts and visuals.

The exhibit was most recently hosted by WHO in collaboration with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21).

Enhanced global action on air pollution approved at WHA69

WHA69 plenary
WHO/L. Cipriani

27 May 2016 – Delegates at the 69th World Health Assembly approved a road map for responding to the adverse health effects of air pollution – the world’s largest single environmental risk. Every year 4.3 million deaths occur from exposure to indoor air pollution and 3.7 million deaths are attributable to outdoor air pollution. Most large cities globally, and 98% of low- and middle-income cities, have air pollution exceeding WHO’s guideline levels.

The 2016–2019 road map focuses on action in four domains:

  • expanding the knowledge base about impacts of air pollution on health;
  • monitoring and reporting on health trends and progress towards the air pollution-related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • leveraging the health sector to raise awareness of the health benefits from air pollution reduction measures, and
  • enhancing the health sector’s capacity to work with other sectors and at all levels – local, national, regional and global – to help address the adverse health effects from air pollution through training, guidelines and national action plans.