WHO’s First Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health


WHO’s First Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health,

30 October – 1 November 2018

Improving air quality, combatting climate change – saving lives

The conference will bring together global, national and local partners to share knowledge and mobilize action for cleaner air and better health globally. The conference will update the evidence on the health impacts of air pollution; methods of monitoring pollution and health exposures; and tools for assessing and implementing effective interventions. It will support strong health sector leadership for change, in partnership with other sectors. Cities and countries will be invited to join the BreatheLife campaign and commit to reducing air pollution by 2030 in line with WHO Air Quality Guidelines. Global attainment of the air quality guideline levels indoor and outdoor could prevent millions of deaths every year.

Participants will include: Ministers of Health, Ministers of Environment and other national government representatives; representatives of intergovernmental agencies, health professionals, other sectors (e.g. transport, energy, etc.), as well as from research, academia and civil society. The conference will also advance collaborations between WHO and sister UN agencies.


The Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health, 30 October – 1 November 2018 will be organized at WHO Headquarters in Geneva, in collaboration with UN Environment, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). Invitations will be issued during May 2018. Remote participation will be facilitated by webcasting and live-streaming of the sessions.

This process will support the following conference outcomes:

  • A “Call for Urgent Action” by health and other sectors to reduce the 6.5 million deaths a year due to air pollution as a contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 3, 7, 11 and 13.
  • Raising the level of ambition – agreement to develop a “Global Movement for Clean Air” with commitments by ministers, mayors, intergovernmental organizations and non-state actors for reaching air quality levels in line with WHO AQ Guidelines by 2030.
  • Household energy on the top of the global energy agenda – strengthening partnerships between the health and energy sectors and increasing efforts to reduce indoor air pollution.
  • Reducing the global epidemic of NCDs with air pollution reductions as a key pillar of action.
  • The health sector’s unique leadership role – to assess air pollution’s health and economic impacts and catalyse actions that reduce air pollution in cooperation with other sectors.
  • Action with multiple benefits – air pollution reduction as a leading entry point for accelerating climate change mitigation and reducing climate-related health risks.
  • Updated evidence on health impacts of air pollution, acute episodes along with new tools for estimating impacts and related cost and benefits for improving air quality.
  • Scaling up the global communications campaign BreatheLife with new city and national commitments to the campaign, to progress towards WHO Air Quality Guidelines.

Date: 30 October – 1 November 2018

#CleanAir4Health #BreatheLife

  • Air pollution, both ambient and indoor, is one of the largest causes of death worldwide. Eight of ten cities exceed WHO Air Quality guideline levels.
  • Household air pollution is a leading killer in rural and urban homes. Nearly half of the world’s population still cooks with polluting fuels and stoves.
  • Non communicable diseases (NCDs) – About 1/4 of all heart attack deaths and about 1/3 of all deaths from stroke, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are due to air pollution exposures. Health impacts are largest among women, children, older people and the poor.
  • Affordable strategies exist to reduce emissions from transport, energy, waste, housing and industrial sectors. Other benefits may include traffic injury and noise reductions and safer physical activity. Healthcare cost savings and improved worker productivity benefit local economies.
  • Climate Change – Tackling air pollution reduces emissions of both short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) and long-lived CO2 . This can also help reduce health risks related to weather extremes, sea level rise, drought and food production.

For more information contact: aphconference@who.int

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