"...1.4 million deaths annually in the European region are attributable to environmental risk factors..."
On Wednesday, at the 7th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in Budapest, Hungary, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Europe Dr. Hans Kluge said that the "triple threat" of climate change, pollution and loss of biodiversity to health must urgently be addressed.
According to Kluge, an estimated 1.4 million deaths annually in the European region are attributable to environmental risk factors, and nearly half of these are caused by air pollution.
Kluge also stated that last summer was "the hottest ever recorded in Europe," and more than 20,000 people died as a result of extreme heat.
"We are moving far too slowly, seriously jeopardizing our ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030," he said, while adding that 77 million people in the region still lack access to safe drinking water.
"Action needs to be taken by governments. Action needs to be taken by partners. Action needs to be taken by all of us as individuals," Kluge said.
Why is this Conference so important?— Hans Kluge (@hans_kluge) July 5, 2023
��Because around 1.4M people across the Region die every year from environmental risk factors
��Because last summer – the hottest ever – over 20K people died from extreme heat
My statement from day 1 of #7MCEH �� https://t.co/afPKuZEYjw pic.twitter.com/k6mHe0RVKx
During the conference, Kluge said that in the COP28 meetings, to be hold in December, European countries will make important joint commitments for climate action.
Kluge also made reference to the Budapest Declaration, stating that it is a roadmap towards strengthening climate resilience, striving for “net-zero” before 2050, reducing fossil fuel emissions, accelerating health adaptation, fighting pollution and protecting nature.
“We need to work together, both as a region and globally, to take the necessary environmental actions for healthier populations, a thriving planet and a sustainable future,” Kluge said.