WHO in Budapest: Mankind facing three-fold challenge
Kluge said a total of 1.4 million people die in Europe each year due to ailments caused by environmental pollution, while 77 million people on the continent do not have access to healthy drinking water.
Hungarian Interior Minister Sandor Pinter said his government was committed to “joint and progressive cooperation” adding that Hungary was involved in “European environmental and health processes”. The government considers WHO a strategic partner, he added. Hungary takes WHO’s recommendations into consideration and works to increase the number of “years Hungarians spend in good health”, he said.
Energy Minister Csaba Lantos said it was important to consider sustainability, environment and nature protection as aspects when choosing solutions for mitigating the effects of the energy crisis. He said climate policy, transition to a green economy and the circular economy were closely related areas, which is reflected in the National Energy and Climate Plan. In the plan, currently being revised, the security of energy supplies, affordable energy and healthy drinking water were in focus “in the wake of a drastically changed international situation”, Lantos said. Under “more ambitious goals” set in the revised plan, Hungary would cut by 2030 gross greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent instead of the current 40 percent and raise the ratio of renewable energy resources to 29 percent from 21 percent. The strategy is aimed at reducing energy consumption overall, while maintaining an economic growth, said the minister.
Csaba Korosi, president of the UN General Assembly, said unprecedented challenges facing the world’s environment protection and health-care systems arising from the coronavirus pandemic required an integrated approach. A major task for the future is to prepare for similar eventualities, he said, and warned that the chance of a similar challenge in the next decade was as high as 28 percent.
He said climate change was in large part the consequence of human activities, and so the responses should be designed in line with the same activities. He referred to a global vision for the future as “good news”, but added that the world had only completed some 15 percent of the measures required to achieve sustainable development.
The Budapest conference is attended by some 600 participants including 30 environment and health ministers, and state secretaries from 46 countries.