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OCTOBER 2022

HEALTH COMMUNITY AND COP27

IMG source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-people-walking-outdoors-2014342/

Over the past months, the international health community has been in full gear preparing for the COP27 climate negotiations in Egypt, to call on governments around the world to integrate health and health equity into climate decision making, and to make and implement the commitments urgently needed, to avert catastrophic health consequences...
 

A just and rapid phase out of fossil fuels, globally, is a key issue for health professionals, as well as government commitments to provide financing to low income countries to make the clean energy transition, and to adapt to coming climate impacts, and respond to the damages they are already experiencing.
 

Around the world, we continue to see the unfolding climate crisis hammering human and planetary health. The health impacts are evident everywhere, in the wake of the Pakistan floods, to China, to the impacts of drought in Africa,  from the European heat waves, and the impacts of major hurricanes in North America. African countries are expected to be among the most damaged by the impacts of the climate crisis. Yet, the soaring price of gas, driven by war in Ukraine and the recovery from the Covid pandemic, has spurred many countries to see a potential bonanza in the unexploited reserves remaining in Africa
 

Meanwhile as health professionals, we know that the health benefits of climate action can offset the costs of action, and can improve people’s health, in the countries that take action, if climate policies are designed to incorporate health.
 

There were some positive outcomes for people’s health in the Glasgow Climate Pact out of COP26: the right to health was reaffirmed as a fundamental principle underpinning climate action; and countries recommitted to limiting warming to 1.5C. When it comes to substantive commitments, however, progress in Glasgow remained fairly incremental, and far from enough. While the COP outcomes did, for the first time ever under the Paris Agreement, mention fossil fuels - a very important win - the language was progressively weakened during the drafting process. And, despite recommitting to the 1.5C warming target, the majority of governments have failed to deliver updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to make good on that promise.
 

The health community is more organized than ever going into COP27, and will be engaging with national delegations on how health intersects with key areas of the negotiations and how health can be effectively integrated into climate decision making on mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, financing and food systems, as well as mounting a wide array of side events highlighting what climate change really means for people’s health; showcasing promising solutions; and collaborating across sectors to push for a integrated vision for a healthy, sustainable, and just future.
 

This is also the time of the year when the Lancet Countdown report, launching on 26th of October, gives us a measure of where we stand on progress in climate and health. With 43 new and updated indicators, contributions from researchers and institutions from every continent, the 2022 report provides new evidence to support accelerated climate action to protect the health of populations around the world. This year's news is not good, but if we take action there is hope.

NEWS

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GAP TO 1.5C YAWNS
 

Almost all the world’s governments have failed to improve their climate plans this year, breaking a promise made at last year’s climate summit
in Glasgow, UK.
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WHO TRAINS HEALTH WORKERS IN GHANA


The World Health Organization (WHO) launched a training programme for health professionals as advocates for clean air policies with the aim to protect and promote people’s health and wellbeing.
IMG source: https://unsplash.com/photos/pA0uoltkwao

GLOBAL AIR QUALITY FUNDING 2022


This unique global snapshot of clean air funding from donor governments and philanthropic foundations highlights trends and gaps in 2015-2021, as well as recommendations for smarter investment for people and the planet.
IMG source: https://unsplash.com/photos/IWpd8KixceA

HEALTH IN CLIMATE CHANGE TALKS


WHO is working on empowering, informing and supporting government representatives, policy makers, and civil society actors to integrate health in international fora through a variety of tools and health community engagement.
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VANUATU BACKS FOSSIL FUEL NON PROLIFERATION TREATY

The island is the first country to call for such a treaty. Vanuatu also sought support for its campaign to seek an opinion from the International Court of Justice on countries’ legal obligations to protect people from climate disasters.

IMG source: https://unsplash.com/photos/9cx4-QowgLc

LATEST RESEARCH

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CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS ON NEONATAL HEALTH IN THE AFRICAN REGION

CLIMATE CHANGE AND HEALTH WITHIN THE SOUTH-AFRICAN CONTEXT

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SHAPING COP27 AROUND AFRICAN CLIMATE AND HEALTH PRIORITIES

A JUST ENERGY TRANSITION FOR A HEALTHY WORLD

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HOPEFUL NOT HELPLESS: HOW DOCTORS ARE COMBATING CLIMATE CHANGE

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Find Out More

HEALTH VOICES

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"A lot of my motivation to work around climate impacts comes from caring for patients. Whether that was patients I used to see in India, who would come in suffering from extreme heat or air pollution or those right here in Minneapolis  who come in with asthma attacks because they live in really polluted areas. 

As a doctor, I can take care of their asthma exacerbation, give them fluids if they are dehydrated, but then I have to send them right back into that polluted environment that is causing their health problems.

This is not just me. Health professionals around the world are already caring for people who are suffering the health impacts of climate change. And we need to work upstream to improve these environmental and climate determinants to protect the health of our patients."

Dr Laalitha Surapani, practicing internal medicine physician and national board member of Physicians for Social Responsibility (extract from GCHA’s Twitter space on health and the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. The recording is available until Oct 21.) 

IMG source: https://med.umn.edu/news-events/medical-bulletin/mission-critical
"Climate change can take back the achievements we have made over the decades - in a flash of a minute flooding can destroy a lot of infrastructure, it can kill so many people, it can injure so many people. Therefore, we need to face it head on as the health sector.”

Didacus Namanya in an interview with Bettina Koelle, Episode 5 of Can’t Take the Heat with Roop Singh, a podcast about climate change from the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre

IMG source: personal photo
"Prioritizing a just energy transition means thinking of energy differently, with passive cooling, active transport, changing, consumption norms, reducing demand, and decentralized systems. To be a truly just transition it must engage workers, impacted people, consumers, those without energy access, and health professionals; and ensure the transformation is restorative, by remediating the damage done to nature and health during the fossil fuel era.”

Alison Doig, Director of the Health and Climate Network

IMG source: personal photo

COMMUNITY

Health organizations are invited to become members of the Global Climate and Health Alliance. We welcome the following new members to the GCHA community:
 

Center for People & Environment (CPE)

www.cpe-bd.org

Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute

https://www.wrhi.ac.za/

Ontario Public Health Association

https://opha.on.ca

International Society of Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE)

https://www.iseepi.org/

Geneva Sustainability Centre powered by the IHF

https://www.ihf-fih.org/healthcare-leadership

Barbados Nurses Association

www.barbadosnursesassociation.org

Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments

https://envirn.org

National University of Medical Sciences, NUMS Pakistan

https://numspak.edu.pk/

West African Institute of Public Health

http://www.publichealth-edu.org

Tunisian Center for Public Health (TunCPH)

https://tuncph.org/en/

 
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. 

Donate Here

MARK YOUR CALENDAR


*** Submissions open *** Ride for their Lives 2022 seeks health groups for events


****Coming soon**** WHO’s online course, “Climate Change Negotiations and Health” will soon be updated to incorporate additional COP27-specific content.

 
  • 29 Sept - 27 October:  Climate and health Advocacy Bootcamp. Through this 5-week bootcamp, health professionals can grow their network by joining colleagues around the country to learn strategies to effectively channel voices and action as health professionals to address the “greatest health threat” of the 21st century. Register here 
  • October - November 2022 and January 2023 (exact dates to be confirmed) - Register here to join one of the events in the Climate & Health Webinar Series
  • 13 October - I Congreso Chileno de Medicina del Estilo de Vida "Avanzando hacia una mejor salud en Chile” (Spanish only). Programme, registration and fees here
  • 26 October at 14:00 BST [London, UK] -  The Lancet Countdown will publish its 7th annual indicator report in The Lancet, in the year that marks the 30th  anniversary of the signing of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.  Register here to attend the virtual global launch of the 2022 Report.
  • 3 November - COP27 Logistics and Policy Update for those attending in Sharm El Sheikh, register here to join
  • 6 November - The final schedule for the WHO Pavilion at COP27 will be shared at this link. Check back at this link for updates and timings which are regularly updated.
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