Climate change treaty must address health issues: WHO

19 OCT, 2010 from The Economic Times

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Tuesday said next month’s climate change conference in Mexico must address health concerns in any legally-binding agreement on mitigating the impacts of global warming as it threatens human health. Health experts from the 11 member countries of WHO’s South-East Asia region met in Dhaka Tuesday, ahead of the 16th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-16) which will be held in Cancun, Mexico, Nov 29-Dec 10.

The experts urged that the serious health effects of climate change be weighed in decision-making, resource allocation and outreach activities, and supported mitigation policies that have protective benefits for human health.

According to WHO, nearly all adverse environmental and social effects of climate change will ultimately threaten human health.

“Countries must invest in adaptation measures for climate change. Cutting greenhouse gas emissions is an opportunity to reduce climate change and improve public health,” a statement quoting WHO regional director for South-East Asia Samlee Plianbangchang said.

“Health protection should, therefore, be one of the criteria by which mitigation measures are judged,” he added.

“Energy policies need to be guided by assessment of the impact on vulnerable groups. Carbon emissions must be reduced to avoid the worst outcome of climate change,” Plianbangchang said.

Developing economies needed rapid economic development so that no country, community or individual was too poor to adapt to climate change, he added.


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