1st of June marked the beginning of a two-week UNFCCC negotiation held in Bonn, where the IFMSA will be taking part in the ADP2.9 (Ad Hoc working group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action). Recent success during both COP20 and ADP 2.8 means that health co-benefits feature in the preamble of the draft text, however, with a lot of cuts expected to be made in order to construct an appropriate text for Paris, there is still a lot of work in ensuring health remains a priority.
The ADP is a key part of the UNFCCC process, ensuring a protocol with legal force is constructed by 2015. However, there are also urgent measures that need to be taken before 2020 in order to ensure health impacts of climate change are minimised and health co-benefits realised. Thus, during these 2 weeks the IFMSA delegation will be working with other organizations dealing with health and climate change including the WHO, YOUNGO and in order to reinforce the message that the health impacts of climate change will be very costly and that action promoting health can have tremendous co-benefits on our environment and can contribute to mitigate climate change.
This comes at a time when the impacts of climate change are more stark than ever, with the recent earthquake in Nepal, which killed over 8000 people, being attributed to melting glaciers and changing weather patterns disrupting the integrity of the Earth’s structure. Although most earthquakes are not climate related, climate change is also a major driver of droughts in California, Brazil, Vietnam, New Zealand, sub-saharan Africa and Australia, which have destroyed agricultural livelihoods and threatened food and water security for millions of people. Extreme weather events have been linked to conflict and migration in Sudan and Syria, and rising sea levels are a constant reminder that Pacific Island communities and low lying countries are at high risk of devastating flooding. These impacts are only going to get worse, thus it is critical that adequate adaptation measures are put in place for those already suffering the impacts of climate change.
There are many opportunities within the negotiating text to put public health at the forefront of adaptation and mitigation measures and we hope that the outcome of ADP2.9 will ensure health is a leading priority in constructing a meaningful global agreement in Paris.
Meet the delegation…
Arthur Mello has just graduated from medical school a few months ago, and has great experience working in public health on the nationa level in his home country, Brazil. He is IFMSA Liaison Officer for Public Health Issues and is the head of IFMSA delegation to UNFCCC ADP2.9.
Eleanor Dow is a medical student at the University of Edinburgh and has just completed a BSc in International Public Health Policy. She is one of the coordinators of Healthy Planet UK, which is an affiliate of Medsin UK and has been working particularly on fossil fuel divestment over the past year, both with UK health institutions and universities.
Michaela Franzén Malmros is a MD/phD student at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and holds the positions NMO President of IFMSA-Sweden and Vice President of IFMSA-Stockholm within International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA).
Diogo Martins is medical student from Portugal. He currently holds the position of IFMSA Liaison Officer to UNESCO, and has been the head of IFMSA Delegation to the previous ADP Session earlier this year in February 2015 in Geneva.
Yassen Tcholakov is a medical student from Montreal and has a Master of International Health from the University of Copenhaguen. He has previously worked with the World Health Organization Climate Change and Health Unit and has been attending UNFCCC ADP2.8 Session.