IHP news 517: Planetary health

By on April 12, 2019


“If the WHO really did want to lead, to do something that could empower ministers of health to act beyond the diplomatic sounds-like-doing-something-but-isn’t-really, then here’s something it might consider – declare climate change a public health emergency of international concern. “

The risk of inaction is going to be beyond comprehension, exposing the entire humanity to the greatest public health challenge in the human history. WHO declaring it a public health emergency of international concern could have significant impact in mobilizing action and resources towards it.


A new research paper reveals that the arctic air temperatures (referred to as ‘the smoking gun’) are rapidly warming up bringing changes in the world’s norther polar regions (with consistently breaking high temperature records) and these changes will continue to have massive negative impacts across the globe. Last week, climatologists said Alaska experienced the highest March temperatures ever recorded.

Watch this short YouTube video explaining the changes in key indicators of the arctic climate from 1971 to 2017.

The BMJ: WHO pulls support from initiative promoting global move to plant-based foods
“The World Health Organization pulled out of sponsoring a global initiative promoting healthier and sustainable diets across the world after pressure from an Italian official who raised concerns about the impact of the diet on people’s health and livelihoods. The event — the launch of the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health in Geneva, Switzerland on 28 March — still went ahead, sponsored by the government of Norway…” (Torjesen, 4/9).

Global Health Governance – Special Issue: Climate Change and Global Health Security: call for abstracts


“The health security impact of climate change will be determined not necessarily by the natural systems that generate exposure to risk, but rather by the ability of social and political systems to respond rapidly enough to minimize climate-related health impacts as well as react to new risks.”

Researchers interested in contributing to the special issue must submit a 250-word abstract to Global Health Governance ([email protected]) and CC the Managing Editor Courtney Tan ([email protected]) by May 25.

ECOSOS Partnership Forum

UN News: The clock is ticking on meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, says UN Deputy Chief

“Climate change is ravaging the planet… staggering numbers of children and youth – especially girls and young women – still lack access to basic education and healthcare services, [and] people in many countries are starved of economic opportunities, decent work and social protection measures”, she told the  2019 ECOSOC Partnership Forum, where governments, business representatives and other influencers met to discuss how partnerships can best advance and the 17 (SDGs).

“Our task is immense, but many of the pathways to change are in plain sight”, she asserted, adding that while “success is still possible”, it requires difficult conversations around “the need to fill partnership skillset gaps, tackle financing shortfalls, and address data deficiencies”.

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