U.S. EPA AND WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION RENEW PARTNERSHIP
Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) renewed its partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) through a five-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) (EPA). The WHO estimates 24% of deaths globally are related to the environment, and that low- and middle-income economies experience the greatest risk. With this statistic in mind, along with the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals, the MOU focuses on various environment and health issues, continuing collaboration on topics from previous MOUs and also addressing new topics. Continuing topics include air and water pollution, children’s health and lead paint exposure, health risks due to climate change, and more. The new priority topics include environmental justice and infrastructure (World Health Organization).
As noted in the MOU, work on these topics will include research projects, drafting documents, assigning personnel from one agency to the other, webinars and other capacity-building events, sharing of resources and research methodology, networking, and more.
EPA and the WHO have been collaborating on environmental and health issues since 1992. EPA also participated in the first WHO Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health in 2018. However, the partnership between the agencies was at risk during the Donald Trump administration as it began withdrawing from the WHO in 2020. When President Biden entered office, he rejoined the WHO and selected Dr. Anthony Fauci to represent the United States on its executive committee (E&E News).