The 193 Member States represented at the World Health Assembly adopted a new resolution on health protection from climate change, signalling a much higher level of engagement from the health sector.
The resolution draws attention to the further strengthening of the evidence for human-induced climate change, and consequent risks to global health, the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and health equity.
It calls on WHO to strengthen its work in raising awareness of the health implications of climate change, collaborating with other agencies within and outside the UN, supporting capacity building and research in health protection from climate change, and requests the organization to consult further on developing WHO's support to countries.
The resolution also calls on Member States themselves to further strengthen the engagement of the national health sector. It urges them to develop health measures and integrate them into adaptation plans; to build the capacity of public health leaders to be proactive and take rapid and comprehensive action; strengthen the capacity of health systems to prepare for and respond to natural disasters; promote health sector engagement with other sectors to reduce risks; and commit to meeting the health challenges of climate change.
The resolution was adopted unanimously, with many representatives, particularly from Small Island Developing States and Africa, voicing their strong support for the high priority that the global health community is now giving to this issue.
- Climate change and health: Report by the WHO secretariat