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First Global Climate and Health Summit Adopts Durban Declaration

4 December 2011: The first Global Climate and Health Summit brought together over 200 participants from more than 30 countries and concluded with the adoption of the Durban Declaration on Climate and Health and the Health Sector Call to Action. The one-day event took place in parallel to the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UNFCCC, on 4 December 2011.

During the event, experts underlined the links between health protection and climate change mitigation. Presenters warned of the significant health consequences of a changing climate, including the increasing “burden of disease” and rising health care costs, highlighting the impact on developing countries. They emphasized that an “equitable climate resolution” would result in major health benefits worldwide, noting that committing to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions is an effective and immediate action to mitigate climate change that can protect and advance global public health.

In the Durban Declaration, Summit participants call on COP 17 negotiators to, inter alia: recognize the health benefits of climate mitigation and take bold and substantive action to reduce global GHG emissions in order to protect and promote public health; ensure greater health sector representation on national delegations and in key bodies of the UNFCCC; adopt a strong second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol; and negotiate, by 2015, a fair, ambitious and binding agreement that is consistent with the prescription for a Healthy Planet endorsed by over 130 health organizations in Copenhagen in 2009.

The Summit was co-organized by the Climate & Health Council, Health Care Without Harm and the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine at the University of KwaZulu Natal, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Medical Association and the International Council of Nurses, among others. [The Durban Declaration on Climate and Health] [Health Sector Call to Action] [Summit Website]