Australia | Leading Health Experts Launch a Framework for a National Climate and Health Strategy


Source: Climate and Health Alliance

In a world first initiative, a coalition of leading health experts and organizations, along with federal parliamentarians, launched a Framework for a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia.

Organizations including the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM), Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA), the Public Health Association Australia (PHAA), Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA), Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), Australian College of Health Service Managers (ACHSM), and the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA, HCWH’s Partner in Australia) have supported the development of the Framework over the last 18 months.

The Framework follows a year-long national consultation to identify stakeholders’ priorities and concerns regarding the health impacts of climate change and entails seven Areas of Policy Action, some of which include phasing out coal, greening hospitals, and a coordinated approach to managing the health consequences of extreme weather events, such as heat stress and thunderstorm asthma. Implementation of a national strategy will require federal, state/territory and local government actions, and cross-portfolio cooperation, involving health, energy and climate/environment portfolios working together.

Executive Director of the Climate and Health Alliance Fiona Armstrong said: "The Framework provides a comprehensive roadmap to assist Australia in addressing the significant risks that climate change poses to the health and well-being of the community, and in meeting its obligations to citizen’s ‘right to health’ under the Paris Agreement."

Armstrong added, “The launch of the framework was a success.We secured tri-partisan support for the launch of the document (…). But in even more exciting news, the Australian Labor Party has announced, in government, they will develop and implement a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia, based on the Framework we have developed”.

Armstrong explained: “This means we have achieved one of our key campaign goals (securing the support of one of the major political parties for the National Strategy) well ahead on schedule (we had hoped to realize this by the end of 2017) - and on the day of the Framework Launch.”

According to HCWH’s President and Founder, Gary Cohen, "in many parts of the world, hospitals and health services are increasingly showing the way toward a low-carbon future. A national policy framework, such as the one proposed for Australia, can help support these efforts, and help accelerate the roll out of low-carbon healthcare while supporting community resilience and well-being. Transitioning away from fossil fuels is preventative medicine on a grand scale."

Results from this process demonstrate the almost unanimous agreement among health professionals that there is urgent need for federal leadership and action on climate. Health groups also offer their commitment to supporting the government and political parties in making the strategy a reality.

For more information and to download the Framework, click here.

Media coverage: