WHO EB136: Statement on Climate and Health

Statement to be read during the World Health Organization (WHO) 136th Executive Board Meeting.

IFMSA is currently represented at WHO EB136 by a delegation of 4 members: Pedro Miranda (LO-WHO), Agostinho Sousa (President), Claudel P-Desrosiers (VPE) and Ivan Seah (General Delegate).

Agenda Item 7.2 – Climate and Health

For many years now, the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA) has been advocating for greater recognition of health in the climate change negotiations. We were pleased to welcome and to attend the Climate and Health Conference last August, and we thank the WHO for the place given to youth and medical students in the meeting.

We congratulate the WHO for hosting its first carbon neutral meeting, however we wish it would become a tradition of the WHO. Meaningful actions must follow words.

The links between climate change and health are more clear than ever. However, during COP20 in Lima, we had to convince member states to integrate considerations of health co-benefits in the ADP – for many, it was something they never considered, although they recognized health to be a national priority. Our interventions were successful and health co-benefits is referenced to in Article 19; however health is still not mentioned in the Elements Text.

The Elements Text that will be open for discussion in February here in Geneva during ADP 2.8 Session. We ask you, as countries representatives, to talk with your colleagues from the other sectors of your government to make sure health remains a priority for all. It is crucial that INCDs – due March 2015 – include a clear assessment of the health cobenefits associated with mitigation and adaptation activities. It is your responsibility to ensure, we – the health sector – don’t work in silos on the road to Paris and beyond.

Finally, we call on the WHO :

  • To recognize climate change as a public health emergency
  • To recognize the right to health in climate talks
  • To provide adequate support to help countries implement national policies with considerations to health;

IFMSA is hopeful of a greener, healthier future, but we need your political will to make this happen. If we keep falling behind our mandate, it will be impossible for us to fulfill our responsibilities as health professionals and to protect populations’ health.

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