CNM Health Desk
Global health workforce urges action to avert health catastrophe
Countries must set ambitious national climate commitments if they are to sustain a healthy and green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The WHO COP26 Special Report on Climate Change and Health, launched on Monday, in the lead-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, spells out the global health community’s prescription for climate action based on a growing body of research that establishes the many and inseparable links between climate and health.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the intimate and delicate links between humans, animals and our environment,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “The same unsustainable choices that are killing our planet are killing people. WHO calls on all countries to commit to decisive action at COP26 to limit global warming to 1.5°C – not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s in our own interests. WHO’s new report highlights 10 priorities for safeguarding the health of people and the planet that sustains us.”
Climate and Health Recommendations
The COP26 report includes ten recommendations that highlight the urgent need and numerous opportunities for governments to prioritize health and equity in the international climate regime and sustainable development agenda.
- Commit to a healthy recovery. Commit to a healthy, green and just recovery from COVID-19.
- Our health is not negotiable. Place health and social justice at the heart of the UN climate talks.
- Harness the health benefits of climate action. Prioritize those climate interventions with the largest health-, social- and economic gains.
- Build health resilience to climate risks. Build climate resilient and environmentally sustainable health systems and facilities, and support health adaptation and resilience across sectors.
- Create energy systems that protect and improve climate and health. Guide a just and inclusive transition to renewable energy to save lives from air pollution, particularly from coal combustion. End energy poverty in households and health care facilities.
- Reimagine urban environments, transport and mobility. Promote sustainable, healthy urban design and transport systems, with improved land-use, access to green and blue public space, and priority for walking, cycling and public transport.
- Protect and restore nature as the foundation of our health. Protect and restore natural systems, the foundations for healthy lives, sustainable food systems and livelihoods.
- Promote healthy, sustainable and resilient food systems. Promote sustainable and resilient food production and more affordable, nutritious diets that deliver on both climate and health outcomes.
- Finance a healthier, fairer and greener future to save lives. Transition towards a wellbeing economy.
- Listen to the health community and prescribe urgent climate action. Mobilize and support the health community on climate action.