Co-benefits of the green economy for cities

Dr Carlos Dora, of the World Health Organization, was hosted by the NZ Centre for Sustainable Cities and University of Otago Wellington. His speech on Health in a Green Economy is now available to view.

There are numerous synergies between health, housing and sustainability that are not being tapped. The WHO reports, Health in the Green Economy, examine the evidence for health benefits and risks from housing, transport and energy policies, aimed originally at mitigating and adapting to climate change. The results offer a key to connecting apparently disparate social objectives of ensuring health coverage in the face of increasing health cost, responding to the non-communicable diseases epidemic and improving people’s wellbeing through interventions in the built environment. Wider international research on these broad connections can offer governments, industry and civil society the means for identifying cost-effective policies that maximise the achievement of multiple social goals.

Dr Carlos Dora manages WHO’s global programme of work on health in sector policies and health impact assessment (HIA), including housing, transport, energy and the extractive industries. His unit – Interventions for Healthy Environments – is responsible for the Organization’s work on occupational health and environmental health hazards associated with radiation and air pollution. His unit is also responsible for mainstreaming environmental performance criteria into the design and delivery of health care activities, including for WHO’s own technical work in countries. He is a medical doctor, with a Master’s degree and a PhD in epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. His publications include numerous articles on HIA and health in sustainable development, a book on health risk communications and another on the health impacts of transport policies.

The speech was introduced by Grant Robertson, MP for Wellington Central, with a karakia from Henare Walmsley.