The Strategic Roundtable on the Role of Health Communities in Climate Action, hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) at the World Health Assembly, emphasized the urgent need for climate action and the crucial role of the health sector in addressing the climate crisis. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, emphasized that the climate crisis is a health crisis, with immediate impacts on health, including outbreaks and higher rates of non-communicable diseases.
The roundtable identified three key challenges for the health community: addressing the diverse health repercussions of climate change, building resilient health systems, and recognizing the health benefits of transitioning to a low-carbon society. These challenges call for transformative action to protect public health and ensure a sustainable future.
The inclusion of a dedicated ‘Health Day’ at the upcoming COP28 conference reflects a significant shift in recognizing the interconnections between climate change and public health. This platform will provide an opportunity for Health and Climate Ministers to deliberate on the health implications of climate change and raise awareness at the highest level.
The WHO Director-General outlined key actions, including promoting actions that reduce carbon emissions and improve health, building climate-resilient health systems, and protecting health from the impacts of climate change. It is essential to invest in renewable energy for healthcare facilities, allocate dedicated funding for climate resilience in the health sector, and prioritize the use of reliable, affordable, and green electricity.
The roundtable demonstrated the increasing engagement of national governments, development agencies, philanthropic organizations, academic institutions, and frontline health workers in supporting climate and health action. By uniting forces and mobilizing health arguments and evidence, we can transform the climate narrative into a positive vision of a healthy and sustainable future for all.
The WHO remains committed to being part of this global effort to create a sustainable future that places health at the center of its activities. Urgent and collective action is needed to mitigate the health impacts of climate change and secure a healthier and more resilient world for generations to come.
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