WHO’s First Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health, 30 October - 1 November 2018

Improving air quality, combatting climate change – saving lives

Air pollution causes 1 in 9 deaths worldwide

The Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health, 30 October - 1 November 2018 is the first-ever global event to focus on both Air Pollution and Health.

Participants will include Ministers of Health and 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.

Public Health & Policy Context

The Conference responds to a World Health Assembly mandate to combat one of the world’s most significant causes of premature mortality, causing some 7 million deaths annually.

Air pollution in most cities exceeds recommended WHO Air Quality levels. Household air pollution is a leading killer in poor rural and urban homes.

Up to 1/3 of deaths from stroke, lung cancer and heart disease are due to air pollution.

Affordable strategies exist to reduce key pollution emissions from the transport, energy, agriculture, waste, and housing sectors. Health conscious strategies can reduce climate change and support Sustainable Development Goals for Health, Energy and Cities.

An indian woman and her baby in air pollution

Conference aims and outcomes

The conference will feature a “Call for Urgent Action” with agreement on a target for reducing the 7 million deaths a year due to air pollution by 2030, as a contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Countries, urban mayors, and civil society will be invited to make commitments to the global advocacy campaign www.BreatheLife2030.org to meet WHO Air Quality Guidelines and reduce climate emissions.

The conference will underline the links between air pollution and the global epidemic of NCDs and position the health sector to catalyse actions for health-wise policies on clean household energy, transport, and waste.

Gates Foundation

Conference sessions and activities

Conference sessions will cover themes such as: Science and Evidence, including the latest on health effects, forecasting and monitoring, and extreme events;

Methods and Tools for Informed Decisions – estimating health impacts and planning interventions in sectors like transport, energy and waste, as developed by the Urban Health Initiative;

Strategies and solutions being adopted by countries and cities to improve air quality at urban and household level;

Cross-sector collaborations between health, environment and development sectors to reduce air pollution and mitigate climate change; Partnerships and Advocacy with countries and cities, UN partners, development agencies, research, university and civil society.

Photo by: Sabri Tuzcu - Istanbul, Turkey


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). WHO is currently in the process of sending invitations. Remote participation will be facilitated by webcasting and live-streaming of the sessions.

For more information contact: aphconference@who.int

Communications and Advocacy

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