This statement is made by ICN, supported by the World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA), representing over 31 million physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and physical therapists. Climate change is currently the greatest threat to global health - healthcare professionals (HCPs) have a professional and ethical duty to mitigate it and support populations to adapt to its impacts.
We work to enable our professions to support healthcare organisations to contribute to climate change mitigation through implementation of environmental policies and sustainable practices.
We call for increased investment in the health workforce as the impact of climate change, coupled with an ageing population, will further increase the demand for well-educated HCPs.
The breadth of impact from the effects of climate change is extremely concerning. Not only are there direct impacts, it further contributes to existing global health threats including infectious diseases and NCDs.
We urge Member States (MS) to allocate a higher proportion of health expenditure towards public health, as this will in turn mitigate impacts of climate change on health. Our professions are committed to strengthening public health through empowering and supporting individuals to make healthy lifestyle choices, thereby decreasing the impact on the planet and its finite resources.
We believe that building climate change resilience cannot occur without addressing the full spectrum of social and environmental determinants of health and we are committed to engaging holistically to fully address these, using the SDG agenda as a guiding framework.
We encourage MS and WHO to advocate for the inclusion of our professions in policy decisions at all levels across all relevant sectors.
Finally, climate change results in further health inequities for already vulnerable populations and must be addressed from a human rights approach. We urge WHO and MS to pay special attention to these populations.