WMA Climate Change

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(11.07.2016) Attending the Second Global Conference on Health & Climate: “Building Healthier Societies Through Implementation of the Paris Agreement”,  7th-8th July 2016 in Paris, the WMA, the CNOM and the IFMSA continue to reiterate the essential role of physicians at the frontline of climate related health challenges.

At the Paris Conference (COP21) in December 2015, health emerged at the centre of the climate change debate. We expect that the next Conference of the Parties in Marrakech (COP22) will emphasize the key role of physicians in addressing climate change. We appreciate the continued commitment of the WHO and the French Government to ensure health is high on the climate change agenda.

“Physicians have the ethical responsibility to alert and advise decision-makers at local and national level, on the social determinants of health including climate change and identify the best solutions to prevent and address these challenges.” said Sir Michael Marmot, President of the World Medical Association

Physicians play an important role in all aspects of climate action and urge action by governments including: 

  • climate mitigation, recognizing the crucial health co-benefits;
  • adaptation to health impacts of climate change including investment in health systems strengthening; 
  • development of a loss and damage framework to address disparate health inequities attributable to climate change;
  • health sector engagement in implementation and review of national level commitments.

The WMA, the CNOM and the  IFMSA welcome the recommendation of the Health Action Agenda delivered at the closing of the conference to the Moroccan Government, as the incoming Presidency of COP22, to develop the capacity of the health workforce to address climate risks; to coordinate a multi-sectoral approach and provide technical assistance to national governments; to ensure adequate financing for health systems strengthening.

“We believe health professionals, medical students and the youth must come together to address the challenges posed by climate change on our health and must be given opportunities and resource to learn about and act upon climate change.” Skander Essafi - IFMSA Liaison Officer for Public Health

Our organizations remain committed to training the health workforce on Climate Change issues for example by the development of tools such as the Training Manual on Climate and Health, the development of resources such as the French Medical Council Webzine video on Health & Climate, research on Climate Change policy such as through the INDC analysis conducted by the WMA, and regular workshops on Climate Change and Health during statutory meetings.

“Climate change is above all a question of public health. Doctors are in the front-line in responding to the harm from climate turmoil. We have a privileged position and a moral duty to protect and promote the population’s health” - Dr. Patrick Bouet - French Medical Council President