WHO Conference on Health and Climate Opens in Geneva
28 August 2014: The World Health Organization (WHO) Conference on Health and Climate opened on 27 August, in Geneva, Switzerland, at WHO headquarters. The aim of the conference is to catalyze action in addressing the impacts of climate change on health. Participants will focus on the thematic areas of strengthening health system resilience to climate risks and promoting health while mitigating climate change.
The first day of the conference focused on the state of climate knowledge and the public health response to climate change. In the morning, a high level session included presentations from UN agencies, including WHO, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank. Margaret Chan, WHO Director General, emphasized that the planet is "losing its capacity to sustain human life in good health.” Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, suggested that the UNFCCC climate negotiations be regarded as “a global public health agreement.”
In a panel discussion, ministers of health and environment discussed the links between international climate, sustainable development and health policy, and efforts being made at the national level. In the afternoon, two multistakeholder roundtables took place addressing health resilience and health benefits.