Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health (PHE) e-News
Special Issue, November 2017
This special edition of the World Health Organization (WHO) Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health (PHE) e-News brings you the latest on health items at the Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC):
- COP 23 Presidency Event: Health actions for the implementation of the Paris Agreement
- Special Initiative to address climate change impact on health in Small Island Developing States
- Regional governments act to clean the air for 35 million citizens - #BreatheLife
- Health Action Day
- UN Climate Change and WHO Team Up to Protect Health from Climate Change at COP23
- COP23 Outcomes
- Pre-COP23 Vatican and G7 declarations on #HealthandClimate
COP 23 Presidency Event: Health actions for the implementation of the Paris Agreement
On Sunday 12 November 2017, His Excellency Frank Bainimarama, COP 23 President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji, in cooperation with the World Health Organization, will convene a high-level event on health actions for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
"I am proud that WHO is leading the way by putting the spotlight on the disastrous health impacts of pollution and Climate Change."
Honourable Arnold Schwarzenegger, R20 Founding Chair and Former Governor of California
A keynote address was made by R20 Founding Chair and Former Governor of California, the Honourable Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The event convened a high-level discussion with esteemed panellists, to showcase the ongoing initiatives of national governments, and the wider health community, in implementing the health commitments of the Paris agreement, and the health and climate agenda. It also assessed the current state of progress, and identify the ongoing barriers to stronger action to protect and promote health while addressing climate change.
Special Initiative to address climate change impact on health in Small Island Developing States
"People living in Small Island Developing States are on the frontline of extreme weather events, rising sea levels and increased risk of infectious disease. We owe it to these people to do everything we can to help them prepare for the future that is already washing up on their shores."
Dr Tedros, WHO Director-General
"Small Island Developing States are ready to take leadership towards green, resilient and health-promoting national development – but the support of the international community is essential.”
Dr Joy St John, WHO Assistant Director-General for Climate and Other Determinants of Health
WHO, in collaboration with the UN Climate Change secretariat and in partnership with the Fijian Presidency of the twenty-third Conference of the Parties (COP23), launched a special initiative to protect people living in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) from the heath impacts of climate change. The initiative envisages that, by 2030, all SIDS will have health systems that are resilient to climate change and countries around the world will be reducing their carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries. "Small Island Developing States are ready to take leadership towards green, resilient and health-promoting national development – but the support of the international community is essential,” said Dr Joy St John, recently appointed Assistant Director-General for Climate and Other Determinants of Health at WHO.
The initiative was launched 12 November 2017 at the High Level COP23 Presidency event “Health actions for the implementation of the Paris Agreement”.
Regional governments act to clean the air for 35 million citizens - #BreatheLife
Ten regional governments across the world are the first to take the next step in the fight against air pollution by joining the BreatheLife campaign this month. The ten regions are: Gossas (Senegal), Jalisco and Campeche (Mexico), Plateau (Benin), Catalonia and Basque Country (Spain), Chaco (Argentina), Azuay (Ecuador), Lombardy (Italy) and Valle de Aburra (Colombia) together encompass almost 3000 municipalities, and a total population of over 35 million. By joining the campaign, these regions commit to take action to mitigate air pollution and bring the air quality in urban areas back to WHO air quality standards for clean air by 2030. The regions announced their commitment during COP23 in Bonn, Germany.
"This BreatheLife campaign commitment shows how cities and regions can provide a strong platform for actions that benefit both health, climate and environment."
Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health
During the same event several cities also joined the BreatheLife: Oslo - Norway, Bonn - Germany, City of Mount Bower - South Australia, Bristol – United Kingdom, Tshwane - South Africa.
“This BreatheLife campaign commitment shows how cities and regions can provide a strong platform for actions that benefit both health, climate and environment,” said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. “In addition, the fact that both cities and regions in developed and developing countries are joining the campaign reflects the shared challenges that we face to our health and our joint determination to address those as a global community.”
Health Action Day
The 2017 Climate and Health Summit took place alongside the UNFCCC COP23. The Summit focus was, through a health lens, on action in cities and regions to advance implementation of national targets under the Paris Agreement and build momentum for increased ambition in climate commitments. It served as an opportunity to promote the investment in communities and health systems, increase awareness of sustainable urban and regional development in the context of climate change and health, and strengthen collaboration among health organizations with other sectors to increase capacity of the global response to climate change.
A day-long event took place on Saturday 11 November 2017 in Bonn, Germany.
UN Climate Change and WHO Team Up to Protect Health from Climate Change at COP23
WHO and the UNFCCC signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to renew the two institutions’ joint commitment to tackle public health challenges emerging from rising temperatures and to help countries boost the efficiency of their response to climate change.
The agreement coincided with the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, and the need to ensure that countries with weak or inadequate health infrastructure receive support to protect human health and build climate resilience to respond to such threats. The signing of this MoU recognizes that the protection and enhancement of health is an essential pillar of sustainable development, requiring the widest possible cooperation by all countries and other relevant stakeholders. The agreement will ensure that health is represented in the global climate change agenda, allowing both institutions to adopt a more integrated and inter-sectoral approach to improving global health and contributing to the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Pre-COP23 Vatican and G7 declarations on #HealthandClimate
The recent Climate Change, Air Pollution and Health Workshop assembled by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences ended with a call for actions by policy makers and political leaders: the Declaration of the Health of People, Health of Planet and Our Responsibility. The workshop was attended by global thought leaders in different areas, with emphasis on human health to consider the latest evidence and make recommendations to be submitted directly to Pope Francis and other world leaders for further actions. The workshop took place 2-4 November 2017 in Vatican City.
Besides the Vatican, for several days Milan, Italy was the world capital of Health. The Group of 7 (G7) had its Ministerial meeting on health, which ended with a Final Communiqué that includes impacts of environmental factors on health. "We have reaffirmed the commitment to keep the G7 countries together and to have a single strong message on issues such as climate change, health of migrants, women and children, and on research to tackle the antibiotics resistance", Minister Beatrice Lorenzin stated during the press conference. The meeting took place from 5-6 November 2017.