Climate change is one of the defining issues of our time. It is also one of the world’s most urgent health threats.
In less than two weeks’ time, I will join the UN Secretary-General and other world leaders at the Climate Action Summit at the United Nations General Assembly. This landmark summit will showcase the concrete commitments governments are making to address climate change and to secure and improve the health and well-being of their citizens.
Two of those commitments have been developed by the World Health Organization and its partners. The first is a pledge to ensure that air meets WHO safety standards by 2030 at the latest, and to align climate change and air pollution policies. Many of the same practices that lead to climate change also result in deadly air pollution.
The second is to provide financial resources to protect people from the detrimental health impacts of climate change. Today, less than 0.5% of international finance for climate change is allocated to health, and the most vulnerable countries, particularly small island developing states, receive only a fraction of that. Countries are being asked to allocate more to protect people against the ravages of the climate crisis.
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