Leaders Meet to Discuss Growing Need for Climate-Resilient Health Systems Fri, Aug 29, 2014
Discussions at the World Health Organization Conference on Health and Climate include ways to promote links between health policy and climate policy, enhance climate resilient health systems, and support health-promoting climate change policies. Geneva, Switzerland, 29 August 2014 -
Key policymakers and leading experts have gathered at the World Health Organizations' headquarters in Geneva to explore opportunities and threats to human health from climate change.
During the conference, Ministers of Health, Environment, Energy and Development from UN Member States, senior Civil Servants, experts, UN agencies, NGOs, Chief Executives from Health Authorities, and relevant private sector entities, are discussing ways to promote links between health policy and climate policy, enhance climate resilient health systems, and support health-promoting climate change policies.
The security of health systems around the world are increasingly threatened by climate disruption through extreme weather events and infectious disease outbreaks. Extreme weather events kill tens of thousands of people every year; droughts directly affect nutrition and the incidence of diseases associated with malnutrition; floods and cyclones can trigger outbreaks of infectious diseases and damage hospitals and other health infrastructure.
Taking place ahead of crucial climate negotiations, including the UN Secretary General's landmark Climate Summit in New York on 23 September, the conference is providing a spring-board for action to address these effects on health, and is providing policymakers from the worlds of health and environment with a much-needed forum to strengthen health systems and therefore improve the lives of millions.
In a video message to the conference, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said: "The initiative taken by the WHO to call this first-of-its-kind conference on climate and health comes at a particularly important time."
"As the world prepares for its negotiations in Lima and in Paris in 2015 to renew its efforts to address the challenges of global warming and climate change, the nexus between human health and the environment, and also between climate change and human health, are becoming ever more obvious and also an opportunity for action."
"I hope this conference will give us direction in how we can address what is ultimately an enormous opportunity to achieve successes on multiple fronts," he added.
Over the course of the conference, a range of speakers will address the conference, ranging from key UN figures to leading scientists to political figures and civil society leaders.
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