On May 24-25, 2017, CEDARE participated in the expert consultation to finalize the regional plan of action for regional implementation of the global roadmap to address the health impacts of indoor and outdoor air pollution 2017-2020, covering the 22 countries of the East Mediterranean (EM) region of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Throughout multiple working sessions, the draft regional plan was discussed and edited in break-out sessions to better reflect the specificities of the region and to include the expert feedback. The proposed plan of action considers the specific context-related characteristics of the region such as the prevalence of naturally occurring air pollutants (sand and dust), the hot and arid nature of the region, and the lack of information on air pollution in terms of monitoring and weak surveillance systems, as well as the prevalence of indoor tobacco smoking.
The plan also considers the outputs made by other regional and international organizations, such as the Arab Strategy on Health and Environment 2017-30; the Sustainable Development Goals 3, 7 and 11, the Paris agreement on climate change, and the Marrakech declaration on health and environment 2016.
A recent study by the World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) found that health and welfare losses due to air pollution are estimated to be about 2.2% of the GDP of the Region (US$ 160 billion) including US$ 20 billion in terms of lost labor income, highlighting the pressing need for concerted efforts to address air pollution.