Climate-smart health care commitment
November 9, 2021 12:55 pm
Fiji is among 47 countries that have committed to develop climate-resilient and low-carbon health systems at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
This is in response to growing evidence of the impact of climate change on people’s health.
Other countries that have signed up include Argentina, Malawi, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America and 36 others.
World Health Organization Head of Climate Change, Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, says the issue is not being neglected anymore.
Lendrum says in Small Island Developing States, particularly in the Pacific, the Ministries of Health are stepping up to ensure their systems are climate resilient.
However, the availability of finance remains a challenge.
“They really appreciate that climate change poses massive challenges to health and they’re coming forward, looking at health risks, looking at what needs to be done to make the health systems resilient, they’re assessing what the problems are, they’re developing plans and most of those countries now have those plans. But the real challenge now is they do need the finance to implement those plans. So what the report shows is that the biggest challenge to those countries is mobilizing the finance they should be entitled to in order to protect the health of their people from climate change.”
Fiji is responding to the increase in cyclones, flash floods, and rising sea levels by building more climate-resilient health infrastructure, strengthening the health workforce, and providing health care facilities with sustainable energy services.
The governments of the 47 countries, which include some of those most vulnerable to the health harms caused by climate change as well as some of the world’s biggest carbon emitters, have committed to take concrete steps towards creating climate-resilient health systems.
Forty-two of these countries have also committed to transform their health systems to be more sustainable and low-carbon.
Twelve have set a target date to reach net zero carbon emissions on or before 2050.
The country commitments come off the back of a WHO survey, launched this week, which shows that the majority of countries now include health in their national climate plans to the Paris Agreement, but that plans often still lack detailed health actions or support mechanisms.
The commitments were made as part of the COP26 Health Programme, a partnership between the UK government, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Climate Champions and health groups, such as Health Care Without Harm.
In addition to the national commitments, 54 institutions from 21 countries representing more than 14,000 hospitals and health centres have joined the UNFCCC Race to Zero and committed to achieving net zero emissions.