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September 2021


Sign the #HealthyClimate Prescription by 4 October!

The 2021 United Nations climate negotiations in November (COP26) will be a critical moment to put the world on a path that protects people from catastrophic climate change. 

Health professionals around the world have joined forces to send a message to national leaders and country delegations who will be meeting in Glasgow to take decisions on climate actions, calling for rapid and strong measures to address the climate crisis. Health professionals and students, and health organizations can still sign onto the #HealthyClimate Prescription.

This follows the unprecedented publication, in September, of the same editorial concurrently in over 200 health journals worldwide, calling on the United Nations General Assembly to act without delay to limit climate change, restore biodiversity and protect health. 

With just a few weeks until COP26, it is time for countries to show up with strong commitments for climate action and a healthy climate. However, some of the largest emitters still haven't submitted their national commitments (Nationally Determined Contributions, NDCs), despite UN Secretary General António Guterres’ stark warning that the recent IPCC’s Climate Report signals “code red for humanity”.

According to the second edition of the “Healthy NDCs Scorecard” released by GCHA, low and middle income (LMI) countries continue to lead on #HealthyNDCs, building health into their national climate commitments under the Paris Agreement. Cambodia, Moldova, and Cabo Verde are most progressive in terms of including health in national climate commitments.

In the remaining weeks until COP, there is still an opportunity for stronger commitments by governments. At the end of September, South Africa submitted an updated NDC with more robust emissions targets and strengthened integration of health, aligned with recommendations submitted by the Public Health Association of South Africa, the South African Medical Association, and Amref Health Africa earlier this year.

So far, only one country – The Gambia – is rated by Climate Action Tracker as having overall climate action that is consistent with the Paris Agreement 1.5˚C warming limit.

The challenges of global health, environmental sustainability, economic development, and social equity are not separate issues. What the highest scoring countries clearly recognize is that by integrating these factors, they can steer their countries towards better health in the near term, and a sustainable future long term, making efficient use of public money and securing a planet that is able to continue supporting the human race.

But high scoring commitments without matching action are not enough. The health community celebrates countries which have prioritized health in their NDCs. And now the world watches to ensure that these promises will be delivered in Glasgow.

NEWS IN BRIEF

 

- The World Health Organization launched the new WHO Global Air Quality Guidelines (AQGs) on 22 September which aims to save millions of lives from air pollution. The guidelines provide clear evidence of the damage air pollution inflicts on human health, at even lower concentrations than previously understood. Recommendations include new air quality levels to protect the health of populations, by reducing levels of key air pollutants, some of which also contribute to climate change.

- US President Biden opened a new Federal Office for Climate Change, Health and Equity. The office will be the first government effort to focus specifically on the public health dangers of global warming.

- Reproductive Health Uganda, a GCHA member, is a volunteer owned and led organisation that started work in Uganda in 1957. They co-sponsored a youth conference on youth innovations to transform food systems and human health. A conference report will be available in due course.

- The Lancet published a “ Systematic mapping of global research on climate and health: a machine learning review”. The global literature on the links between climate change and human health is large, increasing exponentially, and it is no longer feasible to collate and synthesise using traditional systematic evidence mapping approaches. The Lancet aimed to use machine learning methods to systematically synthesise an evidence base on climate change and human health.

- Cyclones, wildfires, floods and the knowledge they’ll get worse are fueling a rising tide of anxiety. A majority of U.S. adults already say they are somewhat or extremely anxious about the effect the climate crisis has on their mental health, a poll from the American Psychiatric Association found. That’s on top of the stress of trying to protect against the coronavirus.

- Global Climate Strikes were organized worldwide in over 80 countries on 24 September. There were over 100,000 on the strike in Berlin and 620,000 in Germany alone, along with many others all over the world, asking world leaders to #UprootTheSystem and exposing the elite of the Global North, “who have caused the destruction of the lands of MAPA (Most Affected Peoples and Areas) through colonialism, imperialism, systemic injustices, and their wanton greed which ultimately caused the warming of the planet.” Find pictures and events worldwide on the dedicated website.

- New research by the World Resources Institute and Climate Analytics shows that G20 countries, which account for around 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions, can limit global warming to 1.7 degrees — if they greatly increase their ambition.

- Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate-related disasters have affected the lives of at least 139.2 million people and killed more than 17,242, according to a new analysis by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre.

- Research by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium shows that a child born in 2020 will endure an average of 30 extreme heat waves in their lifetime, even if countries fulfil their current pledges to cut future carbon emissions. That is seven times more heat waves than someone born in 1960.

- Rodrigo Sánchez Iturregui (@roditurregui) and Deena Mariyam (@DeenaMariyam), are YOUNGO Health Working Group External Affairs Co-Leads. YOUNGO (Youth + NGO) is the Youth Constituency of the United Nations’ Climate panel  (UNFCCC) and ensures that the perspectives of youth are heard at climate change negotiations within the UNFCCC. In their blog “YOUNGO Health Perspective and Demands on Climate Negotiations”, they stress why it is crucial to encourage meaningful youth participation in facilitating a green post-COVID-19 recovery. 

MEMBER BLOG

For the first time, health professionals, organised within the German Alliance on Climate Change and Health and Health for Future, have streamlined efforts to inform the national vote in Germany (26 September) from a health and climate perspective. In their position paper “Your climate. Your health. Your choice”, they asked political parties to acknowledge climate change as a medical emergency and  shared eight demands for a healthy future. Find out more in the blog by Laura Jung, Board member of the German Alliance on Climate Change and Health. 



 

NEW MEMBERS
 

The health community joining GCHA keeps growing!

 

We are pleased to welcome the following new member:

 

GCHA membership is free and is open to health organizations.
 

Learn more about membership 
 

Check out the GCHA website to see the rest of the amazing organizations that are members.
 

 
 

HEALTH VOICES

 

“It is a cruel truth that not only are women most affected by changes in climate, they are substantially less likely to have a seat at the table and be involved in decisions on land use, natural resource management or climate policy.” - Associate Professor Magda Simonis, President of the Australian Federation of Medical Women and Dr Kimberly Humphrey, Deputy Chair of Doctors for the Environment Australia

“The viability of our societies depends on leaders from government, business and civil society uniting behind policies, actions and investments that will limit temperature rise to 1.5°C.  We owe this to the entire human family, especially the poorest and most vulnerable communities and nations that are the hardest hit despite being least responsible for today’s climate emergency.” - UN Secretary-General António Guterres

“This fight to save our planet will require all hands on deck — the government, industry and individuals to commit to living greener. For those of us committed to healing and preventing illness, we must be part of the solution.” - Robert C. Garrett is CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s largest health network with 17 hospitals and more than 500 patient care locations.

We don’t see  a crisis of the climate, but rather a crisis of humanity - Luisa Neubauer, lead of Fridays for Future Germany

 

MARK YOUR DIARY

 

- 29 September - The Columbia Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education organizes  an online webinar on Climate and Health Rapid Response: Wildfires in the Mediterranean. The objective is to elevate the health voice by bringing together clinical, public health and emergency response experts to assess emerging health impacts in the Mediterranean region, a “climate hotspot”, and explore opportunities for bolstering health system responses to safeguard human health. Register here.

- 4 October - Sign onto the Healthy Climate Prescription letter by October 4th to ensure being listed when the letter is publicly launched.

- 5-8 October - Online conference “Climate Change and Health in Small Island Developing States: Focus on The Caribbean”. Join the Caribbean community and international partners for four days of immersion in the science of climate change and health in the Caribbean, identifying knowledge gaps, posing solutions, resource sharing, and empowerment, working together to address the critical public health issue of climate change. Free registration here, deadline for registration: 11:59pm Eastern Time on 3rd October.

GCHA is a key partner of the conference and will host a session from 6:30-8:00pm Eastern Time on 6th October on “The Role of Multisectoral Cooperation in Action on Climate Change and Health.”

- 24 October - Thirty passionate paediatric healthcare providers will take part in the “Ride for their Lives”, leaving London on bicycles heading for COP26 in Glasgow, where they expect to arrive by 31st October. Their goal is to communicate the seriousness of air pollution to fellow healthcare providers and the public, especially families with young children. More information here.

Save the Date: November 6 - Global Climate and Health Conference on the margins of COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, convened by the World Health Organization, GCHA, the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, and other health partners.


 

*** 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.

Health professionals 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: Support what we do! GCHA works hard to elevate the health voice in national and international decision making on climate change, to protect our common future. Your donation, of any amount, can help.
 

 

 

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