Monday, 14 December 2009

Health should be referenced strongly in final COP 15 text

Ruci Mafi, SPC, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen, 14 December - The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to retain and strengthen references to health in the final text of its agreement.

This call has been welcomed by some Pacific island leaders present at the COP 15 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Secretary to the President of the Republic of Kiribati, Betarim Rimon said health was second to survival and must be considered in its entirety when dealing with climate change.

Mr Rimon said health issues continue to be challenges in the Pacific and having these recognized within the UNFCCC COP 15 final text will be an achievement.

In its proposal, WHO said that “the negotiating drafts take the positive opportunity to gain additional support and to greatly offset the costs of mitigation efforts, by promoting mitigation measures that can achieve co-health benefits.”

WHO also stated in its proposal that the serious adverse effects of climate change, notably those on crop [food] production systems, fisheries and food security, on poverty reduction, water resources,  human health and welfare, including housing and infrastructure, on the composition, resilience and productivity of natural and managed ecosystems, including marine and coastal ecosystems, on the operation of socio-economic systems and on transboundary migration levels, as well as insufficient access to a global atmospheric resource and the related historical ecological debt generated by the cumulative GHG emissions, are becoming a major obstacle to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.

The proposal wants the concept of "right to live well" emphasized adding the right to health as defined by the WHO.

“Noting that a shared vision for long-term cooperative action should take account not only of the rights of human beings, but also of the rights of Mother Earth and all its natural beings as the adverse effects of climate change also have a range of direct and indirect implications for the full and effective enjoyment of human right,  including the right to sustainable development, self determination, statehood, life, the right of people not to be deprived of their own means of subsistence, the right to water, the right to health  and the right to live well and are increasingly posing a risk to security and the survival, sovereignty and territorial integrity of states,” the WHO proposal said.

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