Environment, health and pollution

New understanding about the mounting risks to health and ecosystem degradation, and positive contributions to health from ecosystems services mandates a fresh approach on health and environment linkages. UN Environment recently established the Pollution, Health and Environment Unit to address the important issues and linkages between Environment and Health within the organization and with partner organizations and stakeholders.

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A call for action Towards a Pollution-Free Planet

At the third session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA3), Ministers of the Environment expressed their commitment to working towards a pollution-free planet for the health and well-being of our people and the environment (UNEA3 ministerial declaration).  As a follow-up, UNEP developed an Implementation Plan "Towards a Pollution-Free Planet" which was welcome by the Environment Assembly at its fourth session in March 2019 through resolution 4/21.

The Plan takes forward pollution-related UNEA outcomes; proposes action areas with opportunities and solutions to address capacity gaps and challenges; and contributes to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Addressing the magnitude of the pollution challenge requires global efforts: member states and relevant stakeholders have been encouraged by the Environment Assembly to contribute to the implementation of the Plan.

UNEP is undertaking efforts towards implementation of the Plan by coordinating and monitoring its delivery with inputs from Member States and other stakeholders, and by undertaking efforts within its own programme of work.

The Environment Assembly, at its third session also adopted a resolution on Environment and Health calling for collaborative action on integrated environment and health methodologies, tools and policies, and on specific nexus areas such as chemicals and waste, climate, biodiversity, antimicrobial resistance and sustainable consumption and production.

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Caribbean nations rally around pollution-free future

Trinidad and Tobago, 27 August 2019 – Caribbean Island States signalled their commitment to achieving a pollution-free future today, with representatives of nine Caribbean nations gathering to launch the…

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Regional initiatives

The complex and interlinked range of hazards and risks requires cooperation amongst stakeholders at the national and regional level including the development of integrated policies that address health, environment and development goals coherently. Recognizing this need, several regions have initiated processes aim at fostering sectoral coordination between the environment and health sector. Some of these processes are listed below:


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UN Environment Chemicals and Health Branch
International Environment House
11-13 chemin des Anémones
CH-1219 Châtelaine (Geneva)
Email: chemicals@unep.org