KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 11 – The World Health Organization (WHO) urged countries to increase health financing to protect people from climate change, described as among the world’s most urgent health threats.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted that less than 0.5 per cent of international finance for climate change is allocated to health today.
In less than two weeks, world leaders will convene at the Climate Action Summit at the United Nations General Assembly, which will introduce the commitments many governments are making to address climate change and to secure and improve the health and well-being of their citizens.
“Only when countries can provide health services to all, including those in greatest jeopardy from climate change, will we achieve our goals of promoting health, keeping the world safe, and protecting the vulnerable,” Ghebreyesus said in a statement yesterday.
He urged leaders of the nations which have not yet made their commitments to join those who have pledged action to protect people from the devastating heatwaves, floods and cyclones linked with climate change, and to reduce the risk of malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea, and heat stress.
Two of the commitments, developed by WHO and its partners, are a pledge to ensure that air meets WHO safety standards by 2030 at the latest and to align climate change and air pollution policies; as well as to provide financial resources to protect people from the detrimental health impacts of climate change.
This year, The Climate Action Summit will happen on the same day as the UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage.
“Taking steps to address and mitigate the impacts of climate change, and to ensure that everyone can access the health services they need, when and where they need them, are two of the top priorities in global public health,” Ghebreyesus explained.