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TOURISM077

s concerns mount over the long-term risks of climate change to the planet'shealth, there is a wave of interest in"green" economic development amongUN and multi-lateral aid agencies, nationalgovernments and industry. But can "green" economicinitiatives also yield more immediate public health benefits? Early findings emerging from a new series of globalreviews by WHO of climate change mitigation policiesin key economic sectors say "yes", health can be awinner in greener development strategies.Well-designed initiatives that curb greenhouse gasemissions in energy, residential construction,transport, and agricultural systems can not onlyenhance global public health, but also improve healthamong poor populations and save scarce healthresources -in a relatively short time frame. Better understanding of the multiple "win-win" health and climate benefits that could be obtained from mitigation could help build support for existing and future climate change agreements,such as the one being negotiated in the talks in CancĂșn.Embracing "health-enhancing" low-carbon strategiescan allow policy-makers to demonstrate positive healthand wealth-generating results within a period of years -while averting devastating long-term impacts to the planet. The general public can potentially be motivated toadopt more sustainable lifestyles when there is betterunderstanding of how such measures also improvepersonal health and well-being in tangible ways.THE HEALTH COST OF GREY, THESAVINGS OF GREENOverall, WHO estimates that nearly one-quarter of the global disease burden is attributable toenvironmental pollution and degradation, which couldbe readily addressed by available technologies invarious economic sectors (WHO, 2009). For instance,most deaths from indoor air pollution (2 millionannually) are due to leaky and inefficient householdenergy systems that burn biomass fuels and coal, and upon which 3 billion people still rely for fuel (WHO, 2009). However, much of this burden of disease couldpotentially be reduced or eliminated through improvedaccess to cleaner-burning cookstoves or fuels nowbecoming available in developing countries (WilkinsonP et al, 2009; WHO 2006). Concurrent reductions instove emissions could also reduce the climate impactsof black carbon (USAID/RDMA, 2010; Ramanathanand Carmichael, 2008). The burden of disease from urban outdoor air pollution(1.2 million deaths annually) and traffic injury (1.3million deaths annually) could similarly be addressedby policies that promote more compact urbandevelopment around public transport corridors as wellas "active" transport by walking and cycling. An evergrowing body of literature indicates that activetransport to work, school and shopping can alsoaddress obesity-related diseases caused by physicalinactivity (3.2 million deaths annually) (Aytur, et al,2008; WHO, 2006; WHO, 2008). Recent modeling of cities in developed and developingcountries indicated that the potential is huge. A majorGREEN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CAN BEGOOD FOR HEALTH078HEALTHADR MARIA NEIRA, DIRECTOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT, WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO)Right:Dr Maria Neira,Director, Department ofPublic Health andEnvironment, WHO,Geneva