diseases and illnesses can be prevented by the management of environmental
risks, which makes it necessary to tackle the underlying environmental causes.
While this is a global fact, it is more significant in the Arab region, where
environmental risks are higher and rates of development, in most countries, are
the last decades, the world has witnessed a decline in communicable diseases,
combined with an immense rise in diseases triggered by poor environmental
conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that environmental
degradation was responsible for 420,000 premature deaths in the Arab region,
which represents 20 percent of all deaths. The key diseases with the largest
fraction of environmental causes in the Arab countries include: Cardiovascular
diseases, diarrheal diseases, respiratory infections, cancers and unintentional
injuries. The main environmental risk drivers of these disease groups are:
ambient and household air pollution, lack of access to clean water, land
degradation and exposure to waste and harmful chemicals.
of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) called for ensuring healthy
lives and promoting well-being for all by 2030. Achieving this goal stipulates addressing
the environmental-related burden of disease, as environmental exposures are key
determinants of human health across the life course. An integrated ecological
public health approach is needed, which recognizes the complex interactions
between biological, behavioral, environmental, social and developmental factors.
Reducing the environmental burden of disease is possible through measures
design and implemented in a holistic manner.
environmental impact on human health will become more critical in the future.
By 2050, it is estimated that 68 percent (about 650 million) of the Arab
population will be living in urban areas, often characterized by heavy traffic,
polluted air, poor housing, limited access to water and sanitation services,
noise pollution, besides other challenges. Emerging issues, mainly climate
change and loss of biodiversity, will exacerbate the impact of environmental
factors on human health.
The AFED 2020 conference and report aims to discuss the main environmental drivers which have major impact on various aspects of human health in the Arab countries, and propose an action plan leading to a holistic implementation of the Health factor within the SDGs. This will be done within the integrated context of sustainable development, by tackling health in terms of social, economic and environmental aspects.
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AFED will be cooperating in the production of its report with a host of partners, including international organizations and major players in the environmental health domain in the region. Academic AFED members among universities across the Arab region will play key role in developing the report. The core content partners are Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and the WHO Centre for Environmental Health Action (CEHA).