World health report

Executive summary

Environment and lifestyles

WHO is cooperating with UNDP, the World Bank and UNICEF to develop community participation approaches in the area of water supply and sanitation which can also be effective in changing hygiene behaviour. As coordinator of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council's working group on promotion of sanitation, WHO supports several initiatives to raise awareness of the need for improved sanitation and promotes the partnership roles of international agencies, donors, ministries, nongovernmental organizations and academic institutions in this respect. The Healthy Cities network is expanding and achieving specific environmental improvements, for instance in reducing urban air pollution. The Global Environmental Monitoring System is tackling the problem of identification and control of emission sources. Capacity for management of air quality has been assessed in 20 cities to identify immediate needs for technical cooperation. WHO has collaborated with UNDP, the World Bank and the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements in establishing a comprehensive strategy on the increasingly serious problem of disposal of health care wastes, in particular in urban areas. The Organization is developing an action plan, covering the period to the beginning of the twenty-first century, in the areas of health promotion and health education, building infrastructures around existing economic and other arrangements and WHO's regional structure. South Africa is taking the lead in southern Africa, and Hungary in Europe. A health promotion alliance is developing between the more populated countries, including China, India, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and the United States.