WHO Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health

The Union – as part of the Forum on International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) - joined a ‘call for urgent action’ at the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health calling to reduce the number of deaths a year due to air pollution from 7 million by two thirds by 2030.

Along with countries, urban mayors and civil society, FIRS also made a commitment to the global advocacy campaign, breathlife2030, to meet WHO air quality guidelines and reduce climate emissions.

The WHO Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health took place in Geneva from 30 October to 1 November 2018 with the theme of improving air quality, combatting climate change – saving lives. The purpose of the conference was to bring together global, national and local partners to share knowledge and mobilise action for cleaner air and better health globally.

At the opening plenary session Fiona Godlee, Editor of British Medical Journal, said there are enormous benefits to human health and quality of life if we are successful in tackling climate change and air pollution and “If the cost of action is high, the cost of inaction is enormously greater.”

With 91 percent of people worldwide breathing unhealthy air, resulting in about 7 million deaths annually, there is an urgent need for action.

“The WHO Conference on Air Pollution is an important follow-up to the 2018 United Nations High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases, which for the first time highlighted air pollution as a great health risk. Air pollution is not only an enormous health problem, but it is addressable and reducing it can give prompt benefits,” said Dean Schraufnagel, MD, Executive Director of FIRS.

Find out more about the conference and watch official conference videos