More sustainable cities for a better quality of life for their inhabitants

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World Health Day is celebrated on April 7, a date that highlights the global commitment that led to the creation of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948. The purpose of this organization is to promote health, preserve the security of the world and protect people in vulnerable situations in order to ensure the well-being of all.

This year, the WHO celebrates this anniversary with the slogan “My health, my right”, a theme chosen to defend the right of all people, everywhere, to have the right to have the right to have access to health servicesand information, as well as drinking water, clean airgood nutrition, quality housing, environmental conditions and decent working conditions and freedom from discrimination.


According to the WHOthe climate crisis and its health impacts are one of the greatest dangers facing humanity today.. This organization estimates that more than 13 million deaths due to preventable environmental causes occur each yearand between 2030 and 2050, climate change is projected to cause an additional 250,000 deaths each year.

An important risk factor is air pollution, which is directly related to cerebrovascular pathologies, lung cancer and chronic and acute lung diseases, such as asthma. This organization warns that 99% of the world’s population breathes air with quality levels below the minimum required standard. In addition, air pollution remains the leading environmental cause of premature death, with more than 4.2 million deaths per year. According to the Organization, it is necessary to reduce air pollution levels to improve the cardiovascular and respiratory health of the population.

Cities are particularly vulnerable, as they are home to more than 55% of the world’s population. Cities also consume more than two-thirds of the planet’s energy and are responsible for more than half of the world’s energy consumption. more than 60 % of greenhouse gas emissionsThis means that, in these places, around 91% of their inhabitants breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. In fact, vehicle traffic in urban environments produces more than 70% of total greenhouse gas emissions, a factor that, together with environmental noise, has serious effects on public health.

In this regard, WHO adds that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions implementing sustainable policies in transportation, food and energy use can translate into improvements in health, thereby reducing the number of deaths and disease pathologies due to environmental factors.


The Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) promotes projects for the development of actions aimed at the renaturalization and resilience of spanish cities122 million, within the framework of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR), financed by the European Union – NextGenerationEU, with two calls for proposals for 122 million euros.

On the one hand, the 18 projects from the 2021 call for proposals, with actions that aim to increasing green infrastructure and connectivity of green spaces and blue, with the aim of increasing biodiversity, adapting to climate change, reducing pollution and, in short, improving the habitability and health of our cities and the people who live in them.

The 19 projects corresponding to the 2022 call for aid for the renaturalization of cities, endowed with 62 million euros, also continue to be executed. As in the previous edition, and in line with the objectives of the PRTR, these initiatives seek to reinforce the role of nature in the urban development model.

In addition to these projects, 36 initiatives have benefited from the call to promote the restoration of river ecosystems, aimed at restoring river ecosystems and reducing the risk of flooding in Spanish urban environments through nature-based solutions.