January 20, 2022 4:32 pm

Forty-seven countries commit to creating climate-smart healthcare

In response to mounting evidence of the impact of climate change on people’s health, a group of 47 countries have pledged at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow to create climate-resilient, low-income health systems. carbon.

The governments of these countries are committed to taking concrete steps to build climate-resilient health systems, including some of the most damaging health systems due to climate change, as well as some of the world’s largest carbon emitters.

Among them, 42 also pledged to transform their health systems to be more sustainable and low-carbon, and 12 set a goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions on or before 2050.

Commitments are part of the COP26 health program a partnership formed between the UK government, the World Health Organization, the Climate Champions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and health groups such as Health Care Without Harm.

“The future of health must be built on health systems that are resistant to the impacts of epidemics, pandemics and other types of emergencies, but also to the effects of climate change such as extreme weather events and the growing burden of various diseases. related to air pollution and global warming, “said the director general of the World Health Organization.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added that “health systems must also be part of the solution, reducing carbon emissions. We applaud those countries that have committed to building climate-resilient and low-carbon health systems, and we look forward to seeing many others following suit in the near future. “

We must act immediately

Nations that have committed to achieving low-carbon and sustainable health systems include Argentina, the Fiji Islands, Malawi, Spain, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America, and 36 other countries.

States that have committed to improving the climate resilience of their health systems include Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Maldives, the Netherlands, and 42 others.

As an example, the Fiji Islands government’s response to increased cyclones, flash floods and rising sea levels, causing a lack of clean water, consisted of building a more weather-resistant sanitation infrastructure, strengthening health personnel and supplying sustainable energy services to health centers.

“The message from the World Health Organization and from healthcare professionals around the world is clear: climate change is a major health challenge and we must act now. I am very happy to see so many countries prioritizing this issue through of the COP26 Health Program and its level of ambition ”, highlighted the Minister for Europe and the Americas, at the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Wendy Morton

Greater presence of health in national climate plans
The commitments of the countries come from a poll launched this week by the World Health Organization indicating that most countries are now including health in their national climate plans related to the Paris Agreement, but also points out that strategies still lack detailed health actions or support mechanisms.

“These government commitments exemplify the growing global health movement for climate action. Doctors, nurses, hospitals, health systems and ministries of health around the world are reducing their climate footprint, becoming more resilient and advocating for a just transition that places health at the center of a decarbonized civilization, “said International Director of Harmless Health Programs and Strategies, Josh Karliner.

In addition to national commitments, 54 institutions from 21 countries representing more than 14,000 hospitals and health centers have joined the campaña “Race to zero” (Heading to Zero) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and have committed to achieving net zero emissions.

More than 45 million healthcare professionals, representing two-thirds of the world’s healthcare workforce, have signed a letter during COP26 urging governments to take stronger environmental action, noting that “hospitals, hospitals, Clinics and communities around the world are already responding to the health damage caused by climate change. “

The COP26 Health program

The British Government selected health as one of the three priority scientific areas for COP26. As part of the COP26 Health Program, the Conference Presidency works with the World Health Organization, Health Without Harm and the Climate Champions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to engage countries and stakeholders in climate and health.

The COP26 Health Program has been created to bring greater focus and ambition in health to the conference. Its initiatives include:

  • Build climate-resilient health systems
  • Developing sustainable low-carbon health systems
  • Research on climate adaptation dedicated to health
  • Include health priorities in the Nationally Determined Contributions of nations
  • Raising the voice of healthcare professionals as advocates for greater ambition on climate change

The countries that have joined the COP26 Health Program are:

Germany, Argentina, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Bhutan, Cape Verde, Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Spain, United States of America, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, Ireland, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Laos , Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, United Kingdom, Central African Republic, Dominican Republic, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda and Yemen.

Reference-news.un.org

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