Palais des Nations

Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health (PHE) during the 70th World Health Assembly

22 May 2017 -- The 70th World Health Assembly will be held from 22-31th May 2017 in Geneva. Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of health topics to be discussed and events to be held at this year`s World Health Assembly.

WHO /Pierre Albouy

Radical increase in water and sanitation investment required to meet development targets

13 April 2017 | GENEVA — Countries are not increasing spending fast enough to meet the water and sanitation targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), says a new report published by the WHO on behalf of UN-Water.
The report stresses that countries will not meet global aspirations of universal access to safe drinking-water and sanitation unless steps are taken to use financial resources more efficiently and increase efforts to identify new sources of funding.

Illustation world water day 2017

World Water Day 2017: Why waste water

Safe treatment and use of wastewater is fundamental to protecting public health.
Join the global campaign for World Water Day on 22nd March by downloading a sharing campaign materials and organising an event to highlight SDG 6.3 “…halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increase recycling and safe re­use by 2030.”
Learn more from WHO factsheets videos and tools on wastewater and health.

A young boy in a bucket, slums, Bangkok

The cost of a polluted environment: 1.7 million child deaths a year

6 March 2017 |Geneva – More than 1 in 4 deaths of children under 5 years are attributable to unhealthy environments. Every year, environmental risks – such as indoor and outdoor air pollution, second-hand smoke, unsafe water, lack of sanitation and inadequate hygiene – take the lives of 1.7 million children under 5 years, say two new World Health Organization (WHO) reports.

WHO/Diego Rodriguez
Group of women in a training workshop in Indonesia

WHO releases Innov8 approach for reviewing national health programmes to leave no one behind

November 2016 -- Innov8 is a new WHO resource to support operationalization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), progressive realization of universal health coverage and the right to health. It is an eight-step analytic process undertaken by a multi-disciplinary review team to identify ways to take concrete, meaningful and evidence-based action to leave no one behind in health programmes. It provides recommendations for specific entry points and actions to make the health programme equity-oriented, rights-based and gender responsive, while addressing critical social determinants of health influencing programme effectiveness and outcomes.


PHE health topics

Group photo of adolescent boys fishing by the sea

An estimated 12.6 million deaths each year are attributable to unhealthy environments - nearly one in four of total global deaths. Environmental risk factors, such as air, water and soil pollution, chemical exposures, climate change and ultraviolet radiation, contribute to more than 100 diseases and injuries.

Monthly PHE e-News

Each PHE e-News feature includes convenient links to the relevant topic for more detailed information, a listing of upcoming events, recent publications and links to WHO regional offices.

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Commentary highlight

Environments should improve not harm our health

Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health

More commentaries

Publication highlight

Preventing disease through healthy environments

A global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks

Global Strategy Overview

More publications

About us

By focusing on reducing environmental and social risk factors, nearly a quarter of the global burden of disease can be prevented. Examples include promoting safe household water storage, better hygiene measures, safer management of toxic substances in the home and workplace.

Environmental health in WHO regions


Statistical information

Quantifying environmental health impacts

The environmental burden of disease quantifies the amount of disease caused by environmental risks.

Public health and environment in the Global Health Observatory (GHO) data

Mortality and burden of disease from unhealthy environment


Statement by Dr Maria Neira on International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action 2016

Latest PHE feature