Toxic smog can cause chaos. In major cities low visibility has led to health problems, temporary school closures and air traffic diversions.
Through a new partnership with the Clean Air Fund, the World Economic Forum has committed to accelerating solutions to air pollution. The partnership will promote transparency by sharing data, expertise and best practices from across sectors and geographies. It will also harness $50 million in initial funding to provide targeted grants to a range of organizations that are already combating air pollution, improving human health and accelerating decarbonization.
Tackling air pollution will not just save millions of lives but brings multiple benefits to issues including climate change, children’s development, and equity across the globe,”Jane Burston, Executive Director of the Clean Air Fund
What’s the challenge?
Everyone has the right to breathe clean air, but data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that air pollution affects more than 90% of the world’s population. About 4.2 million deaths are caused by outdoor air pollution each year, including 300,000 children under the age of 5.
Air pollution is a global problem but the burden on health is disproportionately higher in poorer countries and has a pronounced impact on economic progress. Toxic air increases the likelihood that employees will fall ill – from coughs and sore throats to lung cancer and heart disease – and that cognitive performance will drop, and productivity with it. It is predicted that by 2060, there will be 3.8 billion working days lost annually due to the effects of air pollution if a solution isn’t found.
In 2019 the World Economic Forum and the Clean Air Fund launched a partnership to support initiatives that improve air quality.
The Clean Air Fund, which is led by Young Global Leader (YGL) Jane Burston, has been incubated in the Forum of Young Global Leaders through community collaborations over the last 18 months as part of the community’s objective to address serious climate change challenges in the world.
We are already supporting projects in India, Poland, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom, as well as a large-scale global programme that includes projects in China and Brazil.
The Fund works with a group of philanthropic foundation partners that are making an impact in areas such as health, child well-being, mobility, climate change and equity. Funding partners include IKEA Foundation, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Bernard van Leer Foundation, Oak Foundation, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity and the FIA Foundation.
At the World Economic Forum the Global Public Goods, Energy, Cities, Health and Mobility Platforms are all working collectively on the issue, in collaboration with leading industry partners.
How can you get involved?
Businesses worldwide are paving the way for cleaner and more sustainable supply chains. Follow the Platform for Global Public Goods and help us advance this agenda, protect the planet and promote human well-being and productivity.
Make a difference on global issues through the Forum’s multistakeholder platform – apply to become a member or partner and join us in our mission to improve the state of the world.
This article was first published on World Economic Forum and is reprinted with permission.
A partnership with the World Economic Forum is in place to protect public health by mobilizing multi-stakeholder action on ambient air pollution. The Forum will build a cohort of leaders to catalyze corporate and political will; create a shared set of tools and facts for prioritizing actions; drive thought leadership; deliver concrete action as well as share lessons learned.