Advancing health and environmental sustainability through action on pollution

Status:                                        Ongoing

Project start date:                     September 2021

Estimated end date:                 December 2023

Focus area:                                Combating Climate change; Improving public health

Project office:                            UNDP in Mongolia

Implementing partners:           Ministry of Health

                                                    Ministry of Environment and Tourism

                                                    National Center for Public Health

                                                    National Committee for Reducing Environmental Pollution

Funding Support by

                                                    Donor name: European Commission

                                                    Amount contributed as of 2022: $ 500,000

Project Summary

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including stroke, heart disease, diabetes, lung cancer and pulmonary diseases, are a key development challenge and exposure to pollution is a major cause of NCD morbidity and mortality. Both NCDs and exposure to pollution are also emerging risk factors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. People with pre-existing chronic conditions are more vulnerable to severe disease progression and are at an elevated risk of dying from it. This makes addressing air pollution and NCDs essential components of effective COVID-19 responses.

UNDP, funded by the European Commission/Environment Directorate-General, has initiated a three-year project to support the governments of India, Mongolia and Ethiopia to address pollution as a key environmental determinant of NCDs, and as part of broader efforts to respond to environmental degradation and the changing climate.

The project pursues action in four areas:

  1. Developing and piloting a methodology to calculate the NCD-related health costs of inaction on air pollution as well as the return on investment in selected cost-effective and nationally-prioritised interventions (investment case), focusing initially on air pollution and including co-benefits such as those related to climate change mitigation, to inform planning and budgeting purposes;
  2. Enhancing governance structures and coordination mechanisms across environment, health and other relevant ministries (transport, energy, planning, agriculture, etc.) to enable joint analysis of main sources of air pollution as well as joint planning and financing for prioritised national actions engaging civil society and private sector partners, as relevant;
  3. Advancing effective laws, policies, standards and regulations through conducting a legal environment assessment in pilot countries, that is expected to lead to strengthened parliamentary and civil society action on air pollution to mitigate its impacts on the environment and health, and building capacities for oversight and enforcement where gaps are in implementation, and ensuring greater transparency in decision-making and budgeting; and,
  4. Facilitating the scale-up of action on air pollution and health in other countries through high-profile and broad dissemination of the methods, approaches as well as lessons learnt from the pilots.

Project Objectives

The overall objective of the project is to reduce pollution to lower NCD mortality and morbidity through strengthened multisectoral action on environment and health.

Expected Results

The project is expected to achieve the following results:

Output 1. Decision makers have access to and are better equipped to use data on 1) economic losses due to inaction on the environmental determinants of NCDs and 2) projected return on investment in priority interventions for multi-sectoral planning and budgeting purposes.

Output 2. Multisectoral and multi-stakeholder actions on NCDs are inclusive of environmental determinants.

Output 3. Capacity to advance coherent environmental laws, policies, standards, and regulations in relation to pollution and health is enhanced.

Output 4. Global advocacy is strengthened, and newly developed guidance and tools are disseminated to scale up action at the nexus of health and environment, in particular pollution.