The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Environment both pledged to intensify their fight against various forms of pollution, climate change and antimicrobial resistance.

“This is an urgent need for our two agencies 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,” said Erik Solheim, UN Environment head.

WHO Director General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus said, “Our health is directly related to the health of the environment we live in. Together, air, water and chemical hazards kill more than 12.6 million.”

Deaths related to environmental health problems reach 12.6 million annually, and many of these take place in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Priority areas include effective air quality monitoring guidance, climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, vector-borne diseases, effective water quality monitoring, and sustainable waste and chemicals management

The WHO and UN Environment seek to build a system for joint research, development of tools and guidance, capacity building, monitoring of Sustainable Development Goals, global and regional partnerships and support for the regional health and environmental fora.

The two world agencies also undertook the BreatheLife advocacy, a global campaign organized by the WHO, UN and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition targeting air pollution reduction.

Air pollution, according to WHO, is responsible for one in nine deaths. Further, 80 percent of household are exposed to air quality that exceed WHO recommendations.

“The agencies will develop a joint work programme and hold an annual high-level meeting to evaluate progress and make recommendations for continued collaboration,” noted WHO. MIMS