The United States Embassy in New Delhi brought together a wide range of representatives from the U.S. Government and the Government of India, as well as development professionals, scientists, the private sector, and civil society to explore concrete steps to address air pollution and its health impacts. With many of the world’s most polluted cities in India, the population’s exposure to air pollution is among the highest in the world and has led to a large increase in pollution-related deaths and disease; billions of dollars in lost economic productivity; and incalculable expenditures on health care.
The workshop took a multisectoral approach to exploring the complexities of the issue as well as signaling possible solutions by including experts from the health, environment, energy and disaster risk management fields. It provided an opportunity for strengthened collaboration between U.S. and Indian experts, and gave participants a forum to discuss challenges, propose solutions, and devise ways to put the solution into action.
Speaking at the event, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Edgard Kagan said, “There is growing consensus in India to act. The strength of Indian democracy and an awareness on the part of policymakers will make the difference.… We are partners in this because we believe that together we can work to address the challenges.”
Participants included Joint Secretary Nidhi Khare from the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change and Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as well as representatives from the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Health Organization. Representatives from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shared how the United States is supporting India’s efforts to reduce pollution and its health impacts, by leveraging U.S. and Indian innovation and expertise in clean technology; collaborating with partners in India to get better information about how different sources of pollution contribute to air pollution levels; and helping strengthen air pollution mitigation systems and practices that reduce the population’s exposure to air pollution.
The U.S. Government, in partnership with the Government of India, will collate the findings from this workshop and other stakeholder meetings to identify next steps as they work together to mitigate the effects of air pollution and reduce its health impacts.