Climate change and human health

Health events in the Paris climate conference


30 November 2015 - Leaders from around the world convene in Paris to discuss one of the most pressing issues of our time, climate change, and hopefully finalize a new climate agreement that can set the world on a healthier and lower carbon pathway to development.

A WHO delegation, led by WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan, will be attending the COP 21. WHO will be leading an official side-event on Climate and Health on 8 December 'Why the climate change agreement is critical to Public Health.'

Health and Climate Change: Road to COP21

Geneva - Climate change is the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century. Health professionals have a duty of care to current and future generations. They are also on the front line in protecting people from climate impacts, from more heatwaves and other extreme weather events, to outbreaks of infectious diseases such as malaria, dengue and cholera, to the effects of malnutrition. Health professionals around the world are also strong advocates for healthier environments, providing clean air, abundant and safe food and water.

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fact buffet


7 millionpeople die each year of indoor and outdoor air pollution – one in eight global deaths.

Promoting health while mitigating climate change


250 000additional deaths estimated to be caused by climate change per year between 2030 and 2050.

Strengthening health resilience to climate change


5000or more signatures expected

Call to action
WHO Director General, Dr Margaret Chan

Event highlight at COP21

8 December 2015 - WHO Director-General addresses event on climate change and health

At a high-level WHO side event, WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan called on negotiators to rapidly close an agreement on climate change, saying that the “world is recklessly late in agreeing.” Climate change already claims tens of thousands of lives a year from diseases, heat and extreme weather. And air pollution, largely from the same sources as climate change, claims 7 million lives annually

“If the right commitments are made, efforts to combat climate change will produce an environment with cleaner air, more abundant and safer freshwater and food, and more effective and fair systems for social protection,” Chan said.

Campaign materials

Campaign materials were developed to aid ministers, policy-makers, health professionals and the public. The posters, and other visual materials can be downloaded and edited in various languages.

Additional resource

Infographics on health and climate change

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