The Voice of Epidemiology


    Web EpiMonitor

► Home ► About ► News ► Job Bank Events ► Resources ► Contact
WHO & UN Team Up To Combat Climate Change

Call Issued For “All Hands On Deck”

The World Health Organization and the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat have signed a new memorandum of understanding at a meeting in Bonn Germany to better protect and enhance health as an essential pillar of sustainable development. The agreement will help ensure a strategic collaboration between the two world bodies and provide a focus on health as part of the larger effort to mitigate climate change.

Patricia Espinosa, head of the UN Climate Change effort, told the group  “The Paris Climate Change Agreement needs all hands on deck if we are to ensure a healthy world and healthy citizens now and into the future.”

The Director General of WHO, Tedros Adhanom  Ghebreyesus, told the meeting that climate change is one of the most pressing public health threats and the health of future generations depends on concrete actions we take now.  He noted that for certain island populations climate change is not a political argument but an everyday reality. 


Climate change operates to impact health because the consequences of extreme weather events and variable climate affect 1) clean air, 2) safe drinking water, 3) food security, and 4) secure shelter. These in turn directly impact health. According to the communique, these consequences could cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year from heatstress, malnutrition, diarrhea, and malaria between 2030 and 2050.

Warning Labels

In striking remarks to the Bonn attendees reported by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, former California governor and Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarznegger called for “slapping” a public health warning on fossil fuels much like the warnings on cigarette packages inspired by the 164 nation tobacco control pact in 2003. He suggested telling customers at gas stations that “what you pump into your tank may kill you” and adding similar messages on oil trucks driving along the highways.

Schwarznegger said more than 9 million people are killed each year by environmental pollution (see related story in this issue) most of it from air pollution, and the topic is only rarely discussed in connection with climate change. 


Reader Comments:
Have a thought or comment on this story ?  Fill out the information below and we'll post it on this page once it's been reviewed by our editors.

  Name:        Phone:   



      ©  2011 The Epidemiology Monitor

Privacy  Terms of Use  Sitemap

Digital Smart Tools, LLC