Global conference to explore opportunities and threats to human health from climate change

Exploring nexus between climate and health

In the face of recent studies linking 7 million premature deaths in 2012 to air pollutants that also raise global temperatures and disrupt climate patterns, the World Health Organization (WHO) will hold a conference August 27 through 29 to explore the nexus between climate and health.

The issue is particularly important as the world prepares for climate negotiations in Lima this year and Paris in 2015.

The objectives of this Conference on Health and Climate are to promote links between health policy and climate policy, enhance climate resilient health systems, and support health-promoting climate change policies.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants, in which the WHO is a Partner, has made health a key issue in its campaign to reduce these pollutants. The Coalition will shortly launch a new initiative on urban health that will address problems of air pollution emitted from diesel engines, municipal solid waste and many other sources. The recent UN Environment Assembly, recognizing the health problems caused by air pollution, called for strengthened action on air quality.

A range of speakers will address the WHO conference, ranging from Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, and Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to leading scientists, political figures and civil society leaders.

In a video released on the eve of the conference, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner noted that “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.”

To follow sessions via WEBEX and for more information on the Conference on Health and Climate, see http://bit.ly/1q2uuiG.

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Sameer Akbar, World Bank, offers his reflection on the Health and Climate Change conference in the blog post.

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