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COP24 Climate and Health Summit

COP24 Climate and Health Summit To Address Greatest Threat of 21st Century

Katowice, 5 December 2018:- Global health leaders and policymakers will gather in Katowice during COP24 this Saturday to address the need for urgent, health-focused action, engagement and collaboration, in the face of the greatest health threat of the 21st century: climate change.

The half-day Global Climate and Health Summit is hosted by the World Health Organization, along with the Global Climate and Health Alliance, the European Committee of the Regions, and the Pro Silesia Association. The speakers, who include Mr. Marco Dus, climate finance rapporteur of the European Committee of the Regions, Dr. Maria Guera of Médecins Sans Frontières, and Dr. Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum of the World Health Organization, will explore how leading health organizations are taking action to address climate change, the role climate finance can have in realizing the health cost-savings of climate action, and the latest Lancet Countdown report. The full summit programme is available here.

“Climate change is a public health emergency that is already affecting the health of millions of people, and we’re nearly out of time to respond”, said Jeni Miller, Executive Director of the Global Climate and Health Alliance, a international coalition of health and development organisations and summit co-host. “The Global Climate and Health Summit brings together health leaders, policy makers, and others from the international community to grapple with how focusing on health can generate global support for climate action, driving forward the ambitious policies essential to protecting health.”

“Recent reports have diagnosed the health crisis in no uncertain terms, including the IPCC 1.5 report, the US National Climate Assessment, and the Lancet Countdown report. They all agree: climate change is here, it’s now, and it affects every one of us. Without aggressive action by national governments to drive down carbon emissions, climate change will quickly outstrip any ability to adapt sufficiently to protect people’s health”, continued Miller.

The summit is expected to amplify the Call to Action on Climate and Health, which outlines a set of ten priority policy actions to advance ambitious progress towards climate and health goals, and the COP24 Special Report on Health and Climate Change, developed by the World Health Organization at the request of the COP23 president the Hon PM Bainimarama, with recommendations to build health into the implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement.

“The World Health Organization has said that the seven million deaths per year from air pollution are completely unacceptable. The connection with climate change? The use of coal, oil and gas that is a key driver of climate change also produces air pollution. Globally, the health savings from reduced air pollution alone would offset the costs of mitigation twice over”, said Miller.

“If nations take the bold and decisive action at this year’s climate negotiations that is required to treat this global health emergency, they will have the health community worldwide behind them,” said Miller.

Organizations representing over five million health professionals and 1,700 hospitals have signed onto the Call to Action. “People care about their health and the health of their children. Protecting public health can be a powerful motivator to support the needed policies.”

“Our future is in our hands, and in the hands of our national governments” concluded Miller. “The decisions made at this COP regarding how the Paris Agreement is implemented will, to use words from the recent Lancet Countdown report, “shape the health of nations for centuries to come”.

About the Global Climate and Health Summit, Katowice, Poland

On 8th December, 2018 the World Health Organization, together with the Global Climate and Health Alliance, the European Committee of the Regions, and the Pro Silesia Association, will host a half-day Summit on climate change and health, alongside the UNFCCC Conference of Parties in Katowice.

The annual Health Summit serves as a key anchoring event for advancing health-focused action, engagement and collaboration to address climate change. The Summit will also further the Call to Action on Climate and Health which outlines a set of ten priority policy actions for health leadership to advance ambitious progress towards climate and health goals. Read and join the Call to Action.


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