Environment, health and pollution

New understanding about the mounting risks to health and ecosystem degradation, and positive contributions to health from ecosystems services mandates a fresh approach on health and environment linkages. UN Environment recently established the Pollution and Health Unit to address the important issues and linkages between Environment and Health within the organization and with partner organizations and stakeholders.

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UNEA3: Environment, Health and Pollution,

Ministers of the Environment gathered at the third session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA3) held in Nairobi, Kenya from 4 to 6 December, 2017, under the overarching theme "Towards a Pollution-Free Planet" adopted a ministerial declaration. The declaration requests in particular the Executive Director of UN Environment to submit a plan of implementation to prevent and address pollution in consultation, with the Committee of Permanent Representatives, for consideration of Member States by no later than UNEA4 building on the outcomes of UNEA3.

UN Environment is undertaking stakeholders consultations to develop this plan.

UNEA3 also adopted a resolution on Environment and Health calling for collaborative action on integrated environment and health methodologies, tools and policies, chemicals and waste, climate, biodiversity, antimicrobial resistance and sustainable consumption and production.


Confronting the ultimate cost of pollution: Our children’s health

Every year, 1.7 million children die because they live in unhealthy environments. More than one in four deaths of all children under the age of five are the result of air pollution, second-hand smoke, unsafe water, lack…

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Regional initiatives

The complex and interlinked range of hazards and risks requires cooperation amongst stakeholders at the national and regional level including the development of integrated policies that address health, environment and development goals coherently. Recognizing this need, several regions have initiated processes aim at fostering sectoral coordination between the environment and health sector. Some of these processes are listed below:


Our partnerships with other organizations are critical to our work. Learn more

Contact us

UN Environment Chemicals and Health Branch
International Environment House
11-13 chemin des Anémones
CH-1219 Châtelaine (Geneva)
Email: chemicals@unep.org