SEforALL pledges support for WHO Air Pollution and Health initiative
Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) is making several announcements of commitment in support of the agenda of the First Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health, hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva between October 30 and November 1, 2018.
SEforALL will be taking additional steps to advance clean cooking, energy efficient mass transit, and the electrification of rural clinics to support WHO’s important leadership on curbing air pollution. These efforts build on several SEforALL programs that are aligned with both SDG7 and SDG3, which includes as a target the achievement of universal access to health services by 2030.
“Dirty energy, whether from a coal fired power plant or cooking on a stove burning kerosene or animal dung, means polluted air. Polluted air kills. The WHO has helped the world understand the link between health and energy and this is a major driver of our work to secure clean, affordable and reliable energy for all,” said Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All.
“Access to clean energy ensures a health clinic can operate effectively, a woman can cook a meal for the family without endangering her children’s health, cities can be places of economic productivity without endangering their citizens, and vaccines can be stored safely. Access to clean energy needs to be at the top of the to do list and subsidies to dirty energy must stop. If not, we continue to put innocent lives at extreme risk.”
SEforALL is committed to work with governments and the private sector across the clean fuels and cookstoves delivery chain to build bigger markets for clean fuels so that people can cook and breathe safely.
The WHO has said that four million premature deaths annually are attributable to contaminated air caused by burning biomass for cooking and heating.
SEforALL will leverage its groundbreaking research in the forthcoming report, Energizing Finance: Understanding the Landscape 2018, to campaign for an increase in clean cooking investments.
SEforALL will broaden efforts to address ambient air pollution in the world’s fastest growing cities in Africa and Asia by brokering cleaner, more energy efficient mass transport that reach all segments of the population. This will require changes in thinking, planning and investing. SEforALL will put a spotlight on the importance of poorer people’s access to affordable access to clean energy, clean air and mobility.
In support of the WHO’s leadership on universal access to health services under SDG3, SEforALL is committed to work with partners, as part of UN Energy, to accelerate the pioneering work to date to supply remote health clinics with affordable, renewable energy.
This includes includes delivering decentralized solar power to health centers that now use more polluting and expensive forms of energy, such as diesel.
The WHO estimates that up to 58% of health care facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa have no electricity at all, and many that do have unreliable access.
Health care professionals who have access to reliable, affordable electricity to power everything from basic lighting to advanced medical devices can provide better quality health care. Ensuring that health care systems have sustainable energy services will deliver against multiple global goals.
SEforALL is also drawing global attention to the need for cold chains to protect medicines and food supplies with the July 2018 release of its report, Chilling Prospects: Providing Sustainable Cooling for All.
The report concluded that 1.1 billion people around the world lack access to adequate refrigeration and cooling and are therefore exposed to significant health risks. This includes 470 million in rural areas who lack refrigeration and cold chains to preserve perishable food and vaccines and 630 million in urban areas who face health problems caused by the increase in global heat waves. The WHO estimates that deaths from extreme heat waves already kill 12,000 people annually and the toll could rise to 255,000 by 2050.
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