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01 Nov 2019

The World Medical Association has urged doctors around the world to lobby their respective governments to deliver carbon neutrality by 2030.

Acknowledging that climate change has the potential for life-threatening impacts on health, the WMA has urged physicians to raise their voices in a bid to limit those impacts.

At its 70th General Assembly in Tbilisi, Georgia, the WMA passed a climate emergency resolution insisting that doctors have an important role to play in advocating for the health of people across the globe.

The resolution declared: “The WMA and its constituent members and the international health community must acknowledge the environmental footprint of the global healthcare sector, and act to reduce waste and prevent pollution to ensure healthcare sustainability.”

Delegates overwhelmingly voted for the resolution.

WMA President Dr Miguel Jorge said physicians have a responsibility to demand greater action on climate change.

The recent United Nations summit on climate action, he said, demonstrated the growing recognition that climate change action must be accelerated.

“We are now calling on physicians around the world to mobilise for accelerated action. We, the WMA, are in a unique position as the voice of doctors to ensure that the health effects from climate change are not neglected,” Dr Jorge said.

“We have a duty as physicians to warn the world that climate change will lead to thousands of extra deaths from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stroke.”

The resolution adopted by the WMA General Assembly states:

Health professionals have an important role in advocating to protect the health of citizens around the world, and therefore have a responsibility to demand greater action on climate change.

The UN summit on climate action that took place in September 2019 further demonstrated the growing recognition that climate change action must be accelerated, with many countries making commitments to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and others committing to boost national action plans by 2020.

There is emerging consensus within the medical profession globally that action on climate change must be accelerated.

The WMA and its constituent members and the international health community:

  • declare a climate emergency and call the international health community to join their mobilisation;
  • commit to advocate to protect the health of citizens across the globe in relation to climate change;
  • urge national government to rapidly work to deliver carbon neutrality by 2030, so as to minimise the life-threatening impacts of climate change on health;
  • must acknowledge the environmental footprint of the global healthcare sector, and act to reduce waste and prevent pollution to ensure healthcare sustainability.

 


Published: 01 Nov 2019