Data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that most countries are not fully acting on their own plans to safeguard human health from climate change impacts.
The report which draws on data from 101 countries surveyed by WHO, shows that only 38% of countries have financial plans in place to implement their climate change strategies with less than 10% having implemented their plans completely.
48% of countries have conducted an assessment of the climate risks to public health.
The most common climate-sensitive health risks were identified as heat stress, injury or death from extreme weather conditions and food and water-borne diseases (such as cholera, dengue or malaria).
Previous work has shown that the value of health gains from reducing carbon emissions would double the cost of implementing these actions at a global level, and meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement could save about a million lives a year worldwide by 2050 through the reduction in air pollution alone.
According to the report, over 75% of countries reported having difficulties in accessing international climate finance to protect the health of their people.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO said: ‘Climate change is not only racking up a bill for future generations to pay, but it’s also a price that people are paying for now with their health.’
‘It is a moral imperative that countries have the resources they need to act against climate change and safeguard health now and in the future.’
Dr Maria Neira, director of the department of environment, climate change and health of WHO said: ‘For the Paris Agreement to be effective to protect people’s health, all levels of government need to prioritise building health system resilience to climate change, and a growing number of national governments are clearly headed in that direction.’
‘By systematically including health in Nationally Determined Contributions and other National Communications, the Paris Agreement could become the strongest international agreement of the century.’
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