Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Health impacts of climate change - ECOSOC

The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), meeting 6-9 July 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland, has officially declared that climate change will create severe health risks. Therefore even greater commitment of funds will be required for Millenium Development Goals.

“Climate change is a gradual and now inevitable event", but the effects of more frequent and more extreme weather events will be abrupt and acutely felt” said World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan in a keynote speech (our emphasis). “The need for humanitarian assistance, for victims of floods, droughts, storms, and famine will grow at a time when all countries are stressed, to one degree or another, by climate change... crop yields in some parts of Africa are expected to drop by 50% in the coming decade. "Among Africa’s poor, 90% depend on agriculture for their livelihoods...There is no surplus. There is no coping capacity. There is no cushion to absorb the shocks.” She reminded governments, “A focus on health as a worthy pursuit for its own sake is the surest route to that moral dimension that is so sadly lacking in international systems of governance.” ....................mothers in Benin: photo courtesy of UNICEF

Japan's delegate called the Ministerial Declaration's omission of all references to human security "extremely regrettable". Others called for greatly increased funding for family planning and maternal health. Family planning in international population assistance had "come down from 55 per cent in 1995 to less than 5 per cent today", thus slowing progress toward the MDGs, said Harry Jooseery of PPD. "Women form the majority of the poorest and the most vulnerable segments of societies."

See the official UN press release and draft Declaration; Wikipedia on human security (economic, health, food, environment, communal and human rights) and Millenium Development Goals; UNICEF report on progress toward MDGs; Global Poverty Project founded 2008.

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