Global Climate and Health Alliance: COP26 Outcomes Not Nearly Enough to Protect Health
Thank you for your leadership as a signatory organization to the Healthy Climate Prescription letter. 600+ organizations representing 46 million health workers worldwide signed the Healthy Climate Prescription letter and the force of this collective effort elevated protecting health as a key element of COP26.
After being launched at a joint press conference in Geneva, the #ClimatePrescription and WHO's COP26 Special Report were transported by bicycle from Geneva to London by WHO Climate team lead Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, and then passed on to pediatricians who rode from London to Glasgow calling for a climate-safe future for their young patients. During the COP26 Presidency Health Event presenting the first ever COP Health Programme, we delivered the climate prescription letter and this video featuring the voices of health workers. During this event, 50 countries announced their commitments to invest in resilient, low carbon health systems at the COP26 Presidency event and more have signed on since then.
While COP didn’t deliver the full measure of action we need and work remains to be done, it did reaffirm the Right to Health as fundamental to climate policy; recommit governments to limiting warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels; for the first time, mentioned the need to eliminate fossil fuels. The health community contributed to these important outcomes.
COP26 provided opportunities for the health community to connect with each other, to share research, and to learn from each other. Recordings of many of these sessions are available online:
- WHO Health Pavilion Presentations Playlist
- The People’s Health Hearing session recordings
- The 2021 Global Climate and Health Conference
For more in-depth coverage of health sector activities at and around COP26, you may want to explore these pieces by health leaders:
As signatories to the Healthy Climate Prescription, your efforts have been vitally important. Before and during the two week climate conference, health professionals drew attention to the health benefits of climate action and the dangers of inaction, within the COP26 negotiating venue, in the press and in the public sphere. Thank you for sharing the letter with your networks and members, for writing Op-Eds and letters to the editor, and for calling for action on climate change in your own communities.
With bigger numbers, and an ever more urgent task, the health community learned a lot from this year’s COP experience. With planning underway now for the year ahead, we have the opportunity to build on the gains made through the Healthy Climate Prescription Letter and all our work together. We will be in touch in the new year with ideas for next steps.
Wishing you time and space to rest and reflect after an extremely busy year,
Dr. Jeni Miller,
GCHA Executive Director
GCHA was one of many organizations who worked to make the climate prescription letter a reality. If you would like to be more involved with GCHA's activities in the coming year, apply to be a member using this form.