COP22 | WHO Health Action Day: Champions for a Healthy Future

Nick Thorp presents during WHO side event

As world leaders convened at COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco to develop strategies and actions to implement and achieve the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, the World Health Organization hosted Health Action Day. A first of its kind event to be held inside the COP, the meeting showcased the actions and interventions being implemented by the health community at national, regional, and international levels to mitigate climate change, develop low carbon solutions, and protect the health of the planet.

From climate friendly cook stoves, to national climate health resiliency plans, to financing programs to scale up climate and health initiatives, speakers shared innovative work taking place in every corner of the globe to mitigate and prepare for the impacts of climate change on human health. The examples of successful and high impact projects are growing rapidly, and with that growth comes a need for their dissemination and scaling up. What works in one part of the world can and needs to be transferred and implemented in another. It is this sharing and diffusion of projects, technology, and strategies around the world that is necessary to have the kind of impacts needed to achieve the Paris Agreement.

Integrated throughout the presentations at the event were direct calls to the health sector for their leadership in advocating for immediate action to address climate change. Presenters shared examples of the influence that medical professionals can have: from preventing new coal-fired power plants from being built in Poland, to physician associations divestment from fossil fuels, to raising the health co-benefits of climate mitigation. This role is an integral one and one that Health Care Without Harm has been advocating for and building over the last 20 years, and most recently around climate issues with its program- the2020 Health Care Climate Challenge.

As the Minister Delegate in charge of Environment for Morocco, Ms. Hakima El Haite, state at the opening of the event, “The health community must answer the call of the Paris Agreement and be a champion in ensuring its implementation for the future health of the planet.” Health Care Without Harm has been and looks forward to continue to answer that call along with its partners and allies from around the globe to achieve the transformative change needed during this pivotal moment in time.

To see the image gallery of the event, click here.