By Matthew Roscoe • 06 November 2022 • 11:09
WHO calls for health to be "front and centre" at "pivotal COP27 climate talks". Image: Holli/Shutterstock.com
The WHO served a “grim reminder” ahead of “pivotal climate talks” at COP27, that the climate crisis continues to make people sick and jeopardizes lives and that health must be at the core of these critical negotiations.
WHO believes the conference must conclude with progress on the four key goals of mitigation, adaptation, financing and collaboration to tackle the climate crisis.
COP27 will be a crucial opportunity for the world to come together and re-commit to keeping the 1.5 °C Paris Agreement goal alive.
“We welcome journalists and COP27 participants to join WHO at a series of high-level events and spend time in an innovative health pavilion space,” the organisation said on Sunday, November 6.
“Our focus will be placing the health threat from the climate crisis and the huge health gains that would come from stronger climate action at the centre of discussions.”
It added: “Climate change is already affecting people’s health and will continue to do so at an accelerating rate unless urgent action is taken.”
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, who was recently subject to a doctored video that claimed he hadn’t been vaccinated against Covid, said: “Climate change is making millions of people sick or more vulnerable to disease all over the world and the increasing destructiveness of extreme weather events disproportionately affects poor and marginalised communities.
“It is crucial that leaders and decision-makers come together at COP27 to put health at the heart of the negotiations.”
The health organisation added: “Our health depends on the health of the ecosystems that surround us, and these ecosystems are now under threat from deforestation, agriculture and other changes in land use and rapid urban development.
“The encroachment ever further into animal habitats is increasing opportunities for viruses harmful to humans to make the transition from their animal host.
“Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.”
WHO said it “is calling on governments to lead a just, equitable and fast phase out of fossil fuels and transition to a clean energy future. There has also been encouraging progress on commitments to decarbonization and WHO is calling for the creation of a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty that would see coal and other fossil fuels harmful to the atmosphere phased out in a just and equitable way.”
“This would represent one of the most significant contributions to climate change mitigation,” it said.
“Improvement in human health is something that all citizens can contribute to, whether through the promotion of more urban green spaces, which facilitate climate mitigation and adaptation while decreasing the exposure to air pollution, or campaigning for local traffic restrictions and the enhancement of local transport systems,” it added.
“Community engagement and participation on climate change is essential to building resilience and strengthening food and health systems, and this is particularly important for vulnerable communities and small island developing states (SIDS), who are bearing the brunt of extreme weather events.”
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Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]
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