The €45.4m fund to reduce air pollution

Cleaner air
iStock/Gilitukha

The Clean Air Fund, announced at the United Nations Climate Change Summit, is initially putting €45.4m towards solving the global air pollution crisis.

The Clean Air Fund, a new philanthropic initiative, has launched to address the global outdoor air pollution crisis that is responsible for 4.2 million deaths worldwide – more deaths than from malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/Aids combined.

Announced at the United Nations Climate Change Summit, the Clean Air Fund has $50 million in initial funding-nearly doubling the $30m (~€45.4m) in current global philanthropic air pollution support in all of the last year-with a goal of raising a total of $100 million. Donations for the Fund have come from philanthropic foundations with a range of focus areas, including health, climate, mobility, and children. As part of the launch, which was supported by The Wellcome Trust, the group released a new report detailing the historical lack of philanthropic support and summarises the trends funding for outdoor air pollution.

“With 90% of all human beings breathing unhealthy air and 4.2 million deaths attributable to poor air quality, outdoor air pollution is a public health and environmental crisis. Without aggressive intervention, the number of deaths is on track to increase by more than 50% by 2050. The Clean Air Fund is focused on ensuring that philanthropy steps up to the challenge,” said Jane Burston, Executive Director of the Clean Air Fund. “Tackling air pollution will not just save millions of lives but brings multiple benefits to issues including climate change, children’s development, and equity all across the globe.”

“Our aim at the IKEA Foundation is to create a better everyday life for families, and fight and cope with climate change. Air pollution affects everyone’s health, especially young children’s, and has the same underlying causes as those of climate change. The Clean Air Fund tackles both issues: improving air quality and accelerating climate action,” said Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation.

“Air pollution impacts all of us but hurts children the most,” said Kate Hampton, CEO of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), “The negative effects of air pollution are then exacerbated when communities have limited access to healthcare. Solving clean air is of the highest priority for the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. By tackling air pollution, we start to tackle climate change and make the world a better place for our children.”

“Half of the world’s population-including more than 300 million children–live in cities which expose them to high concentrations of pollutants potentially leaving them with a lifetime of respiratory, cardiac, and even developmental issues. Too little is being done to address the role of vehicles in this problem. The movement of people must be prioritised over the movement of vehicles,” said Sheila Watson, Deputy Director of the FIA Foundation. “FIA Foundation is delighted to be one of the first funders of the Clean Air Fund as it works on these issues across the world.”

“We’ve been working towards a good start for all children for more than half a century. We’ve chosen to make our first-ever ‘environmental investment’ in the Clean Air Fund because the evidence is absolutely clear: breathing dirty air does not support a good start in life,” said Patrin Watanatada, Knowledge for Policy Director at the Bernard van Leer Foundation. “That’s why we’re determined to support the Clean Air Fund efforts to dramatically reduce emissions and limit exposure. Everyone has a right to clean air – starting with the first breath.”

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