Article Text


Global health
SP4-12 How “healthy” are the climate change conferences?
  1. A M Z Hussain
  1. South East Asian Regional Office of World Health Organization, New Delhi, Iran


Since the first UN Conference on Human Environment held in Stockholm in 1972, up to COP16 numerous international conferences have been organised by UNEP, WMO, IPCC, AsDB/AfDB, UNDP, World Bank and of course UNFCCC. All of these prescribed economic development as the gateway to adaptation to and mitigation of emission of green house gases and global warming. Attention has been given to agriculture, fishery, topography, geography, land quality, tourism, livelihood, water resources management, waste management, forestry, environmental sanitation, public education, training, human resource development etc.; while health or disease were mentioned barely and episodically, to be forgotten in between. That health is the centre piece of development has not dawned upon. The drafters of resolutions and conference records, seems, never included any public health expert or epidemiologist. This has prompted Africa, South Asia, South East Asia, the Far East and the Pacific rim countries to request UNFCCC to accord due importance to health as a key element of adaptation to climate change. Based on a study of the relevant documents on climate change (referred to in the main paper), which evidently side tracked health as an issue of sufficient importance, we suggest that: (1) a monograph be produced by the UNFCCC on the remits and ranges of the impacts of climate change on health and disease; (2) due importance be given to health in the “negotiating document” of UNFCCC; and (3) public health experts and epidemiologist are included in the different committees of UNFCCC and GEF.

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