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MAY 2022


Climate change threatens to deepen existing health vulnerabilities and create new ones including the geographic spread of climate-sensitive communicable and non-communicable diseases. The poor, primarily in developing countries, are expected to be disproportionately affected and consequently in the greatest need of adaptation strategies in the face of climate variability and change.

In spite of the glaring effects of climate change on Africa’s population, the voice of the most vulnerable has not yet found space in decision making tables. That is why GCHA partnered with the Ministry of Health, Kenya, and with AMREF Health Africa to support their initiative at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, co-hosting an event to propose a Multi-Lateral Pan African Partnership on Climate and Health. The initiative successfully brought together multiple African countries and generated high level conversation, debate, and discussion of solutions to boost progress in the global efforts to adapt and mitigate against climate change effects, including strengthening universal health coverage, and elevating a focus on women and youth.

At present, national climate commitments place the world on track for approximately 2.7C of warming by the end of the century, with catastrophic implications for human and planetary health, and necessitating immediate action, including the phase-out of fossil fuels.  Nevertheless, the urgent transition from fossil fuels to renewable alternatives must be carefully managed to protect the health, livelihoods, and wellbeing of vulnerable populations and to avoid exacerbating existing inequalities and environmental degradation. That was the focus of an event co-hosted by the NCD Alliance and GCHA on 31 May affiliated with the high-level meeting “Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity”, and focussed why, to protect people’s health,  fossil fuels must be phased out. 
 

FOLLOW HEALTH-RELEVANT EVENTS AT THE JUNE INTERNATIONAL MEETINGS


During the high-level Stockholm+50 meeting (2-3 June), health organizations will host a series of webinars of interest for the health community.
 

Here are some ideas of webinars you could join. Streaming links are provided:

1st June - Pre-Summit on the Global Just Transition from Fossil Fuels

2nd June - Coming Together for Healthy People and a Healthy Planet: The UN system’s commitment to advancing the human right to a healthy environment

3rd June - Global Kick-off of the EAT-Lancet 2.0 Commission: Building consensus and setting clear food system targets for people and planet
 


Check also the list of side events for the Bonn Climate Conference and join the webinars of interest for your area of work. They will all be streamed here:
7 June: “An Inclusive GST [Global Stocktake] that Spurs Action: Ambition from Country, Sectoral and Non-State Actor perspectives” (GCHA; CDP; IDDRI)
7 June: “Using scientific evidence to mobilize action worldwide on climate change and health” (IAP; ASSAf)
7 June: “Health Workforce for Climate Resilient and Sustainable Health Systems” (IFMSA)
13 June: “Update on COP26 Health and Climate Programme” (WHO)


NEWS IN BRIEF


~ G7 Health Ministers emphasized that this is an “extraordinary time of multiple, acute crises” in the 20 May G7 Health Ministers’ Communiqué from Berlin, and commit to “participatory processes, including a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, in strong cooperation with civil society” to deliver “improved health outcomes for all.”
 

~ The report “Taking action against climate change will benefit health and advance health equity in the Americas” by the Inter-American Network of Academies of Science (IANAS) considers how, through adaptation and mitigation, we can combat the negative effects of climate change on health, and also reduce the ways in which the health system itself contributes to the problem of climate change.

~ Loss and damage caused by climate change is one of the main challenges that limits human rights and the well-being of communities in the Global South. La Ruta del Clima with the support of Brot fur die Welt carried out a case study on “Community Perspectives: Loss and Damage in Cahuita, Costa Rica”.

~ The InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) has launched a new report 'Health in the climate emergency – a global perspective', examining how the climate crisis is affecting health worldwide, and calling for urgent action. The report highlights the need for new, integrated solutions to drive the transformative change needed, and calls for health equity and climate justice to be at the center of these solutions. See launch event.

~ The work of GCHA member Health In Harmony has been featured in several important science and medical journals, including:

- Nature: “Want to prevent pandemics? Stop spillovers - Decision-makers discussing landmark agreements on health and biodiversity must include four actions to reduce the risk of animals and people exchanging viruses.”

- The Lancet: “Healing the Amazon”.

- Science magazine: “AMAZON DELIVERY A rainforest expedition brings COVID-19 vaccines to some of Brazil’s most remote and vulnerable groups”.
~ The publication “Leadership in Health Services” launched a call for papers focused on Health Service Leaders and Climate Change – An imperative for Change Leadership. Deadline for submissions is 31 October 2022. The special issue seeks submissions with a particular emphasis on the impact of climate change on health services leadership. More information.
~ On May 23 the University of California Center for Climate, Health and Equity was officially launched. Housed at UC San Francisco, the center includes representation from all 10 University of California campuses and tackles the serious health issues that climate change is causing, working to make sure solutions are adopted equitably.
 

HEALTH VOICES


“Without prioritizing health, economic equity and multi-sectoral engagements in climate action, the health of the entire planet and the future of humanity remains at grave risk. It is this time that the health sector took center stage, collaborating with new sectors to drive the interventions aimed at mitigating against a negative impact of climate change. Indeed, we can no longer sit on the sidelines and wait for these advanced climate events to happen, but rather must ensure that our collective effort can realize the changes we need to see, in the shortest possible time.” Sen. Mutahi Kagwe, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Kenya

“Obviously, the best solution is to stop climate change. This is basically a human rights issue at this point.” - Jose Guillermo Cedeno Laurent, environmental health researcher at Harvard

“Climate change is the biggest health crisis of our time, and it’s everywhere. It affects every pathway of health.” - Arianne Teherani, PhD, UCSF professor of Medicine and co-director of the UC Center for Climate, Health and Equity

“Health professionals are among the most trusted voices for generating political will and public will for climate action (...). When we take action on climate change, we are truly embedding health and health equity at the core of that.” - Naomi Beyeler, MPH, MCP, is managing director of the the UC Center for Climate, Health and Equity

“The Commission presents abundant evidence showing that pollution is a problem that can be fixed…These interventions provide an extraordinary opportunity to improve public health and also to slow the pace of global climate change. Pollution prevention is a winnable battle.”  Philip J. Landrigan, MD, Co-Chair, The Lancet Commission On Pollution and Health; Global Alliance on Health and Pollution

"This is an opportunity to amplify indigenous voices on a global stage. Indigenous knowledge and leadership can make a positive difference to the existential challenges we face." Grant Berghan, Chief Executive, Public Health Association of New Zealand, on the selection of Māori health advocate Emma Rawson-Te Patu as President-Elect of the World Federation of Public Health Associations

“Don’t work for climate-wreckers. Use your talents to drive us towards a renewable future. We all have a responsibility not to squander our skills, but to use them in a responsible and constructive way.” - Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General


MARK YOUR DIARY

 

2-3 June - High-level meeting Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity”.

9 June 14:00-15:00 CET - Launch of  “A call to strengthen climate change education for all health professionals” – The WHO-Civil Society Working Group on Climate Change and Health will launch an open letter urging deans, academics, managers and other teaching staff of health professional educational institutes, as well as the associated accrediting, examination, and licensing bodies to ensure graduating health professionals are trained and prepared for health and medical practice in the era of climate impacts.


On June 9th, the Working Group, in collaboration with the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education will be hosting an event to launch this open call to health professional schools.

6-16 June - Bonn Climate Change Conference- The 56th session of the UNFCCC subsidiary bodies will take place at the World Convention Center Bonn, Germany.

23 June - Big Meetings, Big Expectations: A report back on Stockholm +50 and the June UNFCCC Intersessional in Bonn
 

 

*** The GCHA newsletter is now available in Spanish ***

 

Subscribe here if you wish to receive the Spanish version (scroll down to the bottom of the page and choose your option, you’ll need to unsubscribe from the English version if you don’t wish to receive both). 


 

GET MORE INVOLVED


Health organizations are invited to become members of the Global Climate and Health Alliance.


Individual health professionals & workers are invited to sign up as a Climate and Health Champion, to receive advocacy alerts, policy & advocacy information, and tools, and to share updates about your advocacy efforts.
 

Donate! Your gift – of any amount – helps GCHA elevate the voices of the health community to drive climate policies that protect all people’s health and wellbeing. 

 

 

 

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