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 Programme (UNEP) established the Pollution, Health and Environment 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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A call for action Towards a Pollution-Free Planet

At the third session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA3), Ministers of the Environment expressed their commitment to working towards a pollution-free planet for the health and well-being of our people and the environment (UNEA3 ministerial declaration).  As a follow-up, UNEP developed an "Implementation Plan "Towards a Pollution-Free Planet" which was welcome by the Environment Assembly at its fourth session in March 2019 through resolution 4/21.

The Plan takes forward pollution-related UNEA outcomes; proposes action areas with opportunities and solutions to address capacity gaps and challenges; and contributes to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. 

UNEP is undertaking efforts towards implementation of the Plan by coordinating and monitoring its delivery with inputs from Member States and other stakeholders, and by undertaking efforts within its own programme of work. To know more about the Implementation Plan, visit the BeatPollution website.

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

For more resources on pollution visit World Environment Situation Room (WESR)/Pollution.

Cleaning up after ISIS: how Iraq’s new chemicals team is trying to undo years of conflict pollution

At the precise moment when ISIS fighters were prepping for their retreat from the Iraqi city of Ramadi in February 2016, Hassan Mohammed lay in bed struggling to breathe.

For nine months, through the…

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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