Regional Centre for Environmental Health Action | News | Expert consultation to finalize a regional plan of action for the implementation of the WHO global roadmap to address air quality and health


Expert consultation to finalize a regional plan of action for the implementation of the WHO global roadmap to address air quality and health

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Group_Photo1Amman, Jordan 29 May 2017 – Air pollution is one of the major avoidable causes of morbidity and mortality in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. WHO estimated in 2016 that deaths as a result of air pollution exposure were from: lung cancer (3%); chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (9%); lower respiratory infections, namely pneumonia among children under 5-years of age (24%); stroke (28%) and heart diseases (36%). This estimate is attributed to more than 400 000 deaths annually as a result of exposure to ambient (outdoor) and household (indoor) air pollution. One in every 8 deaths annually in the Region are attributable to air pollution exposure.

From 2014 to 2016 WHO addressed the huge health impacts of air pollution through the adoption of World Health Assembly (WHA) and Regional Committee resolutions: WHA/68.8 “Health and the environment: addressing the health impact of air pollution" (2015), and WHA/69.18 "Draft roadmap for an enhanced global response to adverse health effects of air pollution" (2016), and Regional Committee resolution EM/RC63/R.1 "Annual report of the Regional Director for 2015" (2016) that requested WHO Regional Director to "Submit an evidence-based plan of action for the regional implementation of the global roadmap to address the health impacts of indoor and outdoor air pollution to the 64th session of the Regional Committee".

This consultation, which took place from 24 to 25 May 2017, reviewed and identified specificities, gaps and potential challenges that are hindering air pollution control efforts. Participants worked during the session to refine the regional plan of action in order to facilitate implementation of the global roadmap to address the healt impacts of indorr and outdoor air pollution.

Encompassing a 4-tiered approach, the plan of action addressed unique regional conditions, such as prevalence of naturally occurring air pollutants (sand and dust), types of fuels used in households, the hot and arid nature of the Eastern Mediterranean Region, and the lack of information and institutional capacity on air pollution in terms of monitoring and weak surveillance systems.

The draft plan will be discussed at the Sixty-fourth Session of the Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean to be held in Pakistan in October 2017.

Related links

WHA/68.8 Health and the environment: addressing the health impact of air pollution

WHA/69.18 Draft roadmap for an enhanced global response to adverse health effects of air pollution

EM/RC63/R.1 Annual report of the Regional Director for 2015

Air pollution: interactive global map