When climate is injurious to your health

| Updated on September 14, 2019

Climate change is one of the defining issues of our time and one of the world’s most urgent health threats.

“In less than two weeks’ time, I will join the UN Secretary-General and other world leaders at the Climate Action Summit at the United Nations General Assembly,” said WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on the landmark summit that will showcase concrete commitments governments are making to address climate change and to secure and improve the health of their citizens.

Two commitments developed by the World Health Organization and its partners include a pledge to ensure that air meets WHO safety standards by 2030, and to align climate change and air pollution policies. Many of the same practices that lead to climate change also result in deadly air pollution.

The second commitment is to provide financial resources to protect people from the detrimental health impact of climate change. Today, less than 0.5 per cent of international finance for climate change is allocated to health, and the most vulnerable countries, particularly small island developing states, receive only a fraction of that. Countries are being asked to allocate more to protect people against the ravages of the climate crisis.

“Twelve days remain for leaders to sign up to those commitments: I urge those who have not yet made their commitments to join those who have pledged action to protect people from the devastating heatwaves, floods and cyclones linked with climate change, and to reduce the risk of malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea, and heat stress,” the DG said.

The Climate Action Summit happens alongside the UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage. Taking steps to mitigate the impact of climate change and ensure that everyone can access the health services they need, when and where they need them, are two of the top priorities in global public health.

Published on September 14, 2019

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