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Global health call to action on climate change

Global health call to action on climate change


MEDIA RELEASE Sunday 6 December, Paris, France

On 5 December 2015, an unprecedented alliance of doctors, nurses, and other health professionals from every part of the health sector has come together calling on governments to reach a strong agreement at the UN climate negotiations that protects the health of patients and the public. Together, at the Annual Health and Climate Summit in Paris, they have announced the signatories of declarations representing over 1700 health organizations, 8200 hospitals and health facilities, and 13 million health professionals, bringing the global medical consensus on climate change to a level never seen before.

The declarations call for urgent action by governments to protect and promote health, and represents a firm commitment by health professionals to engage in the response to climate change.

The World Health Organization recently launched its first ever Call to Action on climate change, recognising the critical importance of COP21 for the future of global health. Other leading health actors have mobilised around this moment, with declarations led by organisations such as the World Medical Association.

“Climate change, and all of its dire consequences for health, should be at centre-stage, right now, whenever talk turns to the future of human civilizations. After all, that’s what’s at stake.”
Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization

The NZ Climate & Health Council’s own Call to Action brings together 17 leading health professional organisations. These health groups represent tens of thousands of doctors, nurses, midwives, public health workers, and medical students, as well as all the medical and health sciences staff and students at Auckland and Otago Universities.

The 17 groups are calling on the New Zealand Government, the health sector, and all levels of society to make an urgent transition to a low-emissions New Zealand, in ways that boost health and create a fairer society.

New analyses from the World Medical Association and the World Federation of Public Health Associations demonstrate that, whilst health systems and governments are beginning to take action on the health implications of climate change, countries’ policies to date fall far short of what is required. At this national level, a recent survey assessing health system preparedness found that a majority of respondent countries lacked a comprehensive national plan to protect their citizens from the health impacts of climate change. New Zealand performed poorly in the assessment because there is a lack of integrated planning for climate action that accounts for the health impacts of climate change and the benefits for health of taking action.

ENDS

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