Network Updates / Nairobi / 2017-12-06

Ministers of health adopt tough new resolution on air pollution:

Third sitting of "Environment Parliament" sees renewed commitment by governments to fighting "single greatest environmental risk to health"

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The fight for clean air got a boost today as world governments adopted a new resolution on air pollution at the third United Nations Environment Assembly.

The resolution recognized air pollution as “the single greatest environmental risk to health”, urging countries to take action across sectors to reduce all forms of air pollution.

Health and environment leaders engaged in high-level discussions the impacts of air pollution on human health and environmental wellbeing, rounding off three days of work, which resulted in 13 resolutions to combat pollution.

UN Environment logged 2.5 million pledges from governments, civil society, business and individuals. If all of these were to be honoured, 1.49 billion people would breathe clean air.

Colombia, Singapore, Bulgaria, Hungary and Mongolia joined the #BreatheLife campaign, committing to reducing air pollution to safe levels by 2030.

“What we need is more and more mayors, municipalities, regions, cities joining us,” Maria Neira of the World Health Organization, a key partner in the campaign, said at a signing ceremony.

Today saw a leadership dialogue on how tackling air pollution contributes significantly to reducing global warming.

“The most important and immediate right to life is the air that we breathe every day,” said new UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador Indian actress Dia Mirza, who addressed the Assembly.

“We find ourselves living in a world where, while there is so much innovation and technology and growth and sustainable innovation, we are still combating something so fundamental to life, which is the quality of our air,” she said, in a chat with Chile’s Minister for Environment Marcelo Mena Carrasco, emphasizing that BreatheLife was a “very, very critical and important campaign“.

Dia Mirza, Indian actress and United Nations Environment Goodwill Ambassador speaks to Marcelo Mena Carrasco, Chile’s Minister for Environment about the importance actions to reduce air pollution.

“It breaks my heart to see that in the 21st century we have allowed our fundamental right to clean air to be compromised to such a degree. Our youngest generation is being forced to cope with respiratory diseases from infancy. The damage that is being done to their future is irreversible and every effort must be made to stop this injustice in its tracks.”

~ Goodwill Ambassador Dia Mirza

More from UNEA-3, 2017, Nairobi, Kenya

UN Environment’s press release: World commits to pollution-free planet at environment summit

All UNEA-3 resolutions 

Full speech by Dia Mirza at UNEA-3: “Our right to life is underlined by our ability to breathe clean air”

Working on air pollution at UNEA-3, in pictures

Mongolia committing to the #BreatheLife campaign.


From left to right: Tserenbat Namsrai, Mongolia’s Minister of Environment and Tourism; Dr Maria Neira, World Health Organization; Dia Mirza, UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador; Marcelo Mena Carrasco, Chile’s Minister for Environment