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Home Media & Publications Archive news Health equity and climate change: time for evidence-informed policy

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Health equity and climate change: time for evidence-informed policy

The Global Forum for Health Research attended a recent invitation-only conference in Geneva on the human impact of climate change. The conference considered a blueprint for action that would help shape public policy while also addressing unmet health needs and reducing health inequities.

Kofi Annan, President of the Global Humanitarian Forum and former UN Secretary-General, noted in his keynote address that changing weather patterns are a grave and all-encompassing threat around the world.

The Global Forum co-organized a workshop on Health equity and climate change policy on 23 June, 2009, during the conference. The workshop rationale was that policies to address climate change will not necessarily improve health equity and can even worsen inequalities. However, with careful planning and research, climate change policy could actually improve the health of disadvantaged communities. Therefore, any future global climate deal must be fully informed by its impact on health equity.

Recommendations from the workshop were conveyed during the Closing Plenary by Sir Michael Marmot, who reminded the audience that social injustice is killing on a large scale and therefore health equity needs to be central to deliberations on climate change, in addition to being the key measure on how well societies are doing.