Taking on environmental health risks, UN agencies aim to protect 'foundations for life' on Earth
10 January 2018 Two United Nations agencies are teaming up in a major new initiative taking on the herculean task of combatting environmental health risks, which claim an estimated 12.6 million lives a year.
The partnership, announced Wednesday, between the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), includes specific action to address air pollution, climate change and antimicrobial resistance as well as improve coordination on waste and chemicals management, water quality, and food and nutrition issues.
“Our health is directly related to the health of the environment we live in. Together, air, water and chemical hazards kill some 12.6 million people a year. This cannot and must not continue,” said Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO, in a news release announcing the undertaking.
“There is an urgent need for [us] to work more closely together to address the critical threats to environmental sustainability and climate – which are the foundations for life on this planet. This new agreement recognizes that sober reality,” added Erik Solheim, the Executive Director of UNEP.
The new collaboration has a particular focus on the developing world as the worst impacts of environmental pollution and the related deaths occur in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The initiative also includes joint management of the BreatheLife advocacy campaign to reduce air pollution for multiple climate, environment and health benefits.
The two UN agencies have been cooperating in a range of health and environment areas.
This latest partnership, is however, the most significant formal agreement on joint action across the breadth of environment and health issues in over 15 years, the agencies added.
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UN peacekeeping operations will keep aiming to reduce their environmental impact – Security Council
21 December 2017 The Security Council on Thursday said that United Nations peacekeeping missions will continue to consider ways to reduce the environmental impact of their operations, in line with relevant UN resolutions and mindful of the goals set out in international accords on the environment, including the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Through an agreed press statement, the 15-member Council reaffirmed the basic principles of peacekeeping, while stressing that it remains cognizant of the possible environmental impact of the peacekeeping operations it mandates.
The Council underscored the importance that peacekeeping operations endeavor to minimize their impact on the sustainability of the ecosystems where they are deployed, based on sound consideration of the risks, benefits and costs.
Mindful of the goals set out by the international agreements on the environment, including the Paris Agreement, the members of the Security Council expressed willingness that UN peacekeeping missions, in full conformity with the established mandates, continue consideration for the reduction of their environmental impact.
The members of the Council underlined the importance to comprehensively address the environmental impact of peacekeeping operations, in close coordination with the relevant parties involved, including troop and police contributing countries, also through meetings of the Security Council’s Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations and of the relevant bodies of the General Assembly.
In addition, the Council recognized that consideration for environmental management includes taking into account the impact of peacekeeping operations on the historical and cultural heritage in the areas of deployment and how segments of the population may be differently affected by environmental degradation.
The Council encouraged UN Member States to incorporate, as appropriate, environmental guidelines into their national training programmes for military and police personnel in preparation for deployment to UN peacekeeping operations.
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