New Delhi: Ahead of the upcoming 2019 Climate Action Summit, the United Nations (UN) announced “Clean Air Initiative” on 23 Jul to achieve air quality that is safe for citizens, and to align climate change and air pollution policies by 2030.
The call to improve air quality is part of a wider movement to improve people’s health, reduce inequities, promote social justice and maximize opportunities of decent work for all while protecting the climate for future generations.
The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy announced the Climate Action Summit, Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, in New Delhi, India, following two days of meetings with representatives of governments, business and civil society.
“The climate crisis and the air pollution crisis are driven by the same factors and must be tackled by joint actions. Governments at all levels have both an urgent need and huge opportunity not only to address the climate crisis but also to improve the health and save the lives of millions of people around the world, all while making progress on the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Alba.
According to WHO, air pollution causes 7 million premature deaths every year, out of which 600,000 are children whereas World Bank states that air pollution costs the global economy an estimated US$5.11 trillion in welfare losses, and in the 15 countries with the highest greenhouse gas emissions, health impacts of air pollution are estimated to cost more than 4 per cent of GDP.
The initiative has been developed as part of the social and political drivers action area of the 2019 Climate Action Summit, led by WHO, together with the Governments of Peru and Spain, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and the International Labor Organization.