Health in the Green Economy
Exploring how health can benefit from low-carbon & energy-efficient development
WHO's Health in the Green Economy sector briefings examine the health impacts of climate change mitigation strategies considered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in their Fourth Assessment Report (Climate Change, 2007). Large, immediate health benefits from some climate change strategies are to be expected. Other strategies, however, may involve health risks or tradeoffs. These issues should be considered in the next round of IPCC mitigation reviews (Fifth Assessment Report [AR5]). See policy briefs on: Housing (English/Spanish), Urban Transport (English/Spanish), Household Energy in Developing Countries (English/Spanish), Health-Care Facilities (English/Spanish) and Occupational Health (English)
World Health Assembly Side Event, 20 May 2013
Green Economy as a Crosscutting theme in Rio+20 2012
Three key ways in which health can contribute to, and benefit from, greener and more energy efficient development include:
• Achieve universal health coverage - Healthy people are better able to learn, earn, and contribute positively to their societies. Protecting people from catastrophic health expenditures can help people fight disease, fight poverty, and stay healthy. Reducing gender, employment, and housing inequities also improves health.
• Enhance health gains from sustainable development investments and decisions – Health gain from development is not automatic. Strategies need to be designed with health in mind, including health impact assessment (HIA). WHO estimates that healthier environments in homes and workplaces, in rural settings and cities, including access to healthy foods, water, energy and transport, could prevent up to one quarter of deaths annually worldwide.
• Adopt health indicators to measure progress /achievements in sustainable development - Many key measurements of health can also tell us how well we are advancing sustainable development, and vice versa. Read More
Measuring health gains from sustainable development:
Health indicators of sustainable development can mark progress and identify barriers in the three pillars of sustainability: social, environmental and economic.