Two UN agencies and partners launch campaign to prevent over-exposure to sun

15 September 2003

Two United Nations agencies and their partners today launched a set of new educational materials to help children around the world become more aware of the dangers from ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun and to take the measures to prevent the risks of skin cancers, cataracts and other conditions caused by over-exposure.

The UN World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and other partners in the Intersun Project are targeting children because they are both most vulnerable and most exposed to UV, the agencies said.

"As a significant part of a person's lifetime exposure to UV comes before the age of 18, it is obvious that educating children and young people about the dangers of UV exposure is key to preventing the consequences of this, and school programmes have been shown to be the most effective way of reaching and educating children," WHO Director-General Lee Jong-wook said in Geneva.

The School Sun Protection Package - launched on the occasion of the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, which is observed on 16 September - comprises three booklets that guide schools and teachers on how to develop effective sun education programmes and materials to evaluate the effectiveness of such initiatives.

WHO said between two and three million new cases of non-malignant melanomas and more than 130,000 new melanoma skin cancer cases occur worldwide. An estimated 66,000 deaths occur annually from melanoma and other skin cancers.


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