Addressing Climate Change and Health systematically and sustainably
Sharing an update on where the Global Health Hub Germany stands, what it has achieved and what it envisions for the future.
The climate crisis is not new. Countries have debated how to tackle climate change since the early 1990s, culminating in the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which was ratified by 197 countries including Germany and has established the Conference of the Parties (CoP). Since then, many accords were introduced such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement aiming to reduce global emissions and to halt rising temperatures.
Germany’s climate policies are grounded in these conventions and coupled to the European Union’s targets on addressing climate change (e.g. the Green Deal). The Climate Protection Act (2021-2045) stipulates for instance that emissions are ought to be reduced by at least 65% until 2030. Additionally, individual sectors have also been allocated to annual emission levels. The health sector has been specifically recognized as one sector that contributes substantially to emissions and thus to climate change. Likewise, climate change impacts healthcare resilience over time. Therefore, necessary steps need to be introduced to counteract these developments. Yet, current developments have pushed back targets set in the last years. This is for instance visible in the current G7 communiqués, were targets on climate resilient healthcare systems and emission reductions were watered down and pushed from 2030 to 2050 (read the communiqué). This raises concerns especially for young people, who worry for the future of upcoming generations, the health risks for vulnerable people and the vanishing of natural habitats.
The special nexus between climate and health should be prioritized in political debates and implementation programming. The Covid-19 pandemic, ongoing environmental disasters and hunger crises illustrate the severity of this connection. Rising temperatures and the disappearance of biodiversity and natural habitats increase the risk of infectious and neglected tropical diseases. Persistent droughts and environmental disasters constrain food supply chains, increase health vulnerabilities and lead to an influx of climate refugees. Accordingly, there is the need for new strategies, points for action, and a better positioning of the climate and health debate in politics.
What is the role of the Global Health Hub Germany?
The Global Health Hub Germany is a convener promoting exchange across sectors and different stakeholder groups. One key topic the Hub is working on is Climate and Health. With technical and political debates the Hub provides the platform for information sharing, identifying barriers and discussing possible ways forward. Here you can find an overview of the Hub’s different discussions and events on climate and health.
1. Panel discussions and online events
With our panel discussions, we aim to raise awareness, to share information and to foster exchange among various stakeholders. We have addressed climate and health, Planetary Health and One Health in some of our events.
Global Health Needs Climate Action – Germany’s ways forward with Maike Voss (CPHP), Sophie Gepp (KLUG), Melvine Otieno (Planetary Health Eastern Africa Hub), Johanna Hanefeld (RKI), Manraj Phull (NHS England) - watch the video (English only)
Red Flag: Climate Change and Health with Maike Voss (CPHP), Antonella Risso (HCWH), Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann (Universität Augsburg), Philipp Wesemann (Mercator Foundation), Silvia Hartmann (KLUG) - watch the video (English only) or read the 10 recommendations for policy makers
Post-COP26: Ein Klima des Wandels?! with Maike Voss (CPHP), Georg Kippels (MP, CDU), Johannes Wagner (MP, Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen), Katrin Vogler (MP, Die Linke) – watch the video (German only)
One Health - Gemeinsam für Umwelt und Klima with Eckhart von Hirschhausen (GEGM), Ute Winkler (BMG), Jutta Litvinovitch (BMUV), Christian Dreißigacker (HCWH), Sophie Gepp (KLUG) watch the video (German only)
One Health: Gemeinsam gegen AMR und Zoonosen with Eckhart von Hirschhausen (GEGM), Ines Perea (BMG), Daniel Eibach (BMZ), Bernd-Alois Tenhagen (BfR) and Fabian Leendertz (Helmholtz Institute) watch the video (German only)
Thinking outside the box: Planetary Health with Karin Geffert (Pettenkoffer School of Public Health) watch the video (German only)
2. Catalyzing Impact
We also raise the topic of climate and health in our catalyst dialogue series where renown experts from different stakeholder groups share their perspective and recommendations on how a holistic understanding of health can guide a multisectoral response to the climate crisis The discussion paper will be published end of this year (2022). Different discussion rounds with relevant political players and non-state actors on climate and health will be held on the margins of the World Health Summit 2022, e.g. a parliamentary evening and a roundtable discussion with representatives from the various German ministries, nonstate actors, and expert members participating in the catalyst dialogue.
3. Hub Community of Practice on Climate Change and Health
The Hub Community on Climate Change and Health brings together stakeholders from different disciplines and sectors with the common goal to address climate change and health systematically and sustainably. If you would like to learn more and engage in this community, reach out to Merle.Wangerin@globalhealthhub.de
Image source: Unsplash / Li-an Lim