Delft, The Netherlands, 13 Mar 2019

Human health in dire straits if urgent actions are not made to protect the environment, warns landmark UN report

The most comprehensive and rigorous assessment of the state of the environment completed by the UN in the last five years, Global Environmental Outlook 6, was published today, 13 March. It warns that damage to the planet is so dire that people’s health will be increasingly threatened unless urgent action is taken.

The report, produced by 250 scientists and experts from more than 70 countries, provides an analysis of regional environmental challenges that are important to help policy makers tackle issues specific to certain regions. It states that either we drastically scale up environmental protection, or cities and regions in Asia, the Middle East and Africa could see millions of premature deaths by the middle of the century. “The health and prosperity of humanity is directly tied with the state of our environment,” says Joyce Msuya, Acting Executive Director of UN Environment.

Ms. Joyeeta Gupta, a Professor at IHE Delft and at the University of Amsterdam, and also one of the co-chairs at the Global Environmental Outlook 6, says that “this report shows that policies and technologies already exist to fashion new development pathways that will avoid these risks and lead to health and prosperity for all people”. She adds, “what is currently lacking is the political will to implement policies and technologies at a sufficient speed and scale. The fourth United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi in March, needs to be the occasion when policymakers face up to the challenges and grasp the opportunities for a much brighter future for humanity.”

Environmental ministers from all over the world are in Nairobi to participate in the Fourth UN Environment Assembly. They are expected to tackle critical issues such as stopping food waste, promoting the spread of electric mobility, and tackling the crisis of plastic pollution in our oceans, among many other pressing challenges.

Download the report on the webiste of United Nations Environment Programme here.

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