Network Updates / Milan, Italy / 2017-11-17

“Crucial to decrease exposure to air pollution”:
G7 Health Ministers' 2017 communique

Milan, Italy
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In a recent gathering of top health officials, G7 leadership affirmed the critical importance of air quality, and the work of the BreatheLife campaign.

The G7 Health Ministers’ Meeting took place 5-6 November in Milan, Italy, bringing together Health Ministers from Japan, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. The meeting focused on significant health issues faced by international society, setting priorities, discussing strategies and exploring solutions.

In his address to the G7 Health Ministers’ meeting, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated, “Around the world, air, water and soil pollution undermine the health of billions of people, and fan the flames of disease. Every year, there are 12.6 million preventable deaths from environmental risks including air pollution and lack of access to water and sanitation.”

The G7 Health Ministers’ meeting produced a guiding document to set priorities and strategy for improving the world’s health. The final G7 Milan Health Ministers’ Communique, subtitled “United towards Global Health: common strategies for common challenges” sets out 47 major points of consideration. These points fall variously under the categories of environmental factors and impact, the role of gender in health issues, the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance and others.

The Communique’s heading 20 focuses particularly on air quality and air pollution, stating,

It is crucial to decrease exposure to air pollution, including by reducing emissions in urban areas. We will support inter-sectoral, evidence-based foresight exercises and policies to reduce drivers of pollution concentrations, and promote innovative solutions, such as smart working and sustainable mobility, clean energy, as foreseen, for example, by the Healthy Cities network and the WHO/Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC)/UN Environment’s BreatheLife Campaign.

We will further support actions to improve indoor air quality through restrictions on tobacco smoking, as well as introducing clean household energy interventions for cooking, heating and lighting, including via the WHO Guidelines for indoor air quality, household fuel combustion, alternative sources of clean energy, and use of cleaning products and improved ventilation in order to reduce disease burden, such as lung disease and cancer, while contributing to improved environmental outcomes.

Read the full communique here.