Local and regional governments, the greatest ally for ending air-pollution and ensuring a low-carbon future

Local and regional governments, the greatest ally for ending air-pollution and ensuring a low-carbon future

World Environment Day, which takes place on the 5th of June, is the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. This year’s edition is centered on Air Pollution.We celebrate this day with the aim to remind the world that the changes required to eradicate pollution in our communities need to come from the bottom-up.

The air in cities has an impact on the health of their inhabitants. 23% of deaths in cities are related to environmental factors, and more than 90% of the world's population is exposed to levels of air quality that do not conform to the recommendations of the World Health Organization.

Diseases such as asthma, particularly in children, have grown exponentially, already affecting more than 235 million people. Air pollution, in particular that caused by the transport sectors, is one of the largest causes of early death in cities. Local Leaders are taking measures to reduce pollution, particularly related to traffic, but also greening cities to make walking and cycling mobility a priority.

UCLG is cooperating with the Barcelona Institute of Global Health (IS Global) a to develop information and provide support and activities to showcase local health policies. This video, on health in cities and ODS 3 and local governments, is the first product of collaboration between the two parties.

We are joining World Environment Day, a day for the people, for our communities, to showcase their efforts for taking care of our planet. The United Nations has developed the Mask Challenge, to raise awareness about the reality and high burden of air pollution and encourage people to showcase their creativity and beat it . Air pollution, in particular that which is caused by the transport sectors, is one of the largest causes of early death in cities. We are aware of the role that sustainable mobility can play in reducing CO2 emissions and air pollution in cities and, as UCLG, we have taken this issue to heart by fostering a partnership with UITP, the leading champion of sustainable urban mobility that brings together all public transport stakeholders.

One of the results of our collaboration is the launch has been the Global Strategic Partnership and the launch of our Mobility Champions Community,  the first global platform of city leaders which take concrete action to collaborate in leading the urban mobility transition. Supported by mayors from all over the world, it is structured around Clusters that will allow members to share best practices and develop innovative approaches to mobility.

By joining our efforts, we can work together to offer our expertise to local and regional governments and support their work to offer a future for our communities through livable and sustainable urban environments. We are aware that greener and more sustainable mobility options might not be easy to implement, but they are essential to develop cities and communities that leave no-one behind. The upcoming UITP Summit, the defining event in Public Transport, will prove to be an important occasion to explore the strategic vision and the future of a sector full of key innovations to make sustainable mobility a reality today.

Local and regional governments are leading the struggle against climate change, and working towards establishing an ecological transition to guarantee a future for our citizens by achieving the global agendas and contributing to the Paris Agreement. Global challenges need to be addressed at the local level if they have any chance to succeed.

We look forward to seeing the what initiatives you bring forward during this #WorldEnvironmentDay, and we would like to encourage you to join the campaign to #BeatAirPollution in our communities. UCLG will continue working further as a network and with all stakeholders to promote a safer, more sustainable future that is free of pollution for all.

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