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How to assess health impacts of air pollution – capacity building in Sarajevo

Air pollution is the world’s largest single environmental health risk, responsible for the premature deaths of 7 million people every year globally and almost 600,000 in the European region. According to the World Health Organization, the associated economic cost in the region  is about USD 1.6 trillion. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of the population in the region lives in cities with levels of particulate matter exceeding the recommended levels in the WHO Air Quality Guidelines.

To support countries in assessing the health impacts of air pollution, WHO has recently upgraded its online tool, AirQ+, with inputs from the Joint Task Force on the Health Aspects of Air Pollution under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution. To further promote the use of the AirQ+ tool and to support countries in capacity-building on air quality and health more generally, WHO piloted a training for Western Balkan countries in Sarajevo this week (12-16 November 2018).

About 30 public health practitioners, environmental experts, policymakers and participants from advocacy groups attended the training. UNECE contributed with lectures on the Convention and on other policy aspects, including synergies between policies to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases.