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Recent work by WHO has shown that almost one quarter of the global burden of disease is attributable to modifiable environmental risk factors. These act on both communicable and, increasingly, non-communicable diseases, with stroke, ischaemic heart disease, diarrhoea and cancers heading the list.
All of these environmental risk factors are strongly conditioned by social conditions. The poorest populations, both within and between countries, bear the greatest disease burden. Global environmental and social changes, including climate change, urbanization and ecosystems disruption, are exacerbating many of these risks.
Despite the strengthening evidence of the effects that environmental risk factors have on health, the necessary political action and investment required to address these challenges is not yet being provided on a sufficient scale. Only some 3% of health investment in developed countries is in prevention, with 97% spent on treatment. As a result, healthcare costs around the world are rising. There is, however, an opportunity for action.
This meeting aims to bring together Ministers of Environment and selected Ministers of Health attending COP 22, to promote healthier environments for healthier people. The expected outcomes are:
The meeting is designed for 150-200 participants from a range of areas, including Health and Environment Ministers, senior government negotiators and policymakers, members of the health and development sectors, environmental NGOs, technical experts, academics within the field of health and the environment, and intergovernmental agencies.