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Building healthy, pollution-free cities, a hot issue at the World Urban Forum

During the World Urban Forum, WHO led the discussion on urban development and public health. In addition to this, WHO’s BreatheLife/Urban Health training attracted many participants who were interested in learning about tools and methods to quantify the public health impact of policies and build momentum for public and private action. The training introduced participants to the Urban Health Initiative that aims to quantify the health costs and savings of current and potential policy choices in all spheres, with a particular focus on air pollution. This initiative has been launched in pilot countries. During the course of the training, participants were also intro­duced to AirQ+, a software that quantifies the health effects of exposure to air pollution, includ­ing estimates of the reduction in life expectancy. Both, the accessibility of the software and the importance to the policy process of determining and quantifying the short- and long-term im­pacts of air pollution were emphasized. Communications as crucial part of the Urban Health Initiative's theory of change to drive urban leaders to act and include air pollution and health impacts and indicators in the policy process was also discussed. Participants were invited to join the BreatheLife campaign that unites cities, regions and, increasingly, interested countries, towards the goal of halving deaths from air pollution by 2030.

The World Urban Forum took place from 7 to 13 February 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. For further information, click here.