UNU-IIGH Signs on to Health Educators Climate Commitment

  • 2015•12•10     Kuala Lumpur

    The United Nations University International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH) is one of 48 new institutions committing to train students to address the health impacts of climate change, the White House has announced at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21).

    The Health Educators Climate Commitment, created by the Obama Administration in April 2015, aims to equip the next generation of health professionals with the education and training to address the health impacts of climate change, and to develop a global network of climate change and health experts.

    “Climate change is no longer a problem for future generations. We are already feeling its effects in every corner of our nation and across the globe, which threatens our economic and national security and our health. No country is immune, and therefore all countries must act together, and that is what the Paris climate negotiations are all about. Today’s commitments reinforce not only how vast the impacts of climate change are, but also the opportunity to join together and address this problem,” the White House said in the announcement.

    UNU-IIGH joins 117 other public health, medical, and nursing schools from 14 countries in the initiative. “We offer research training and other capacity building programmes on the health impacts of climate change. Our PhD students are working on the impacts of climate change on infectious diseases, the health consequences of flooding, and health co-benefits from climate change mitigation,” said UNU-IIGH Research Fellow, Professor Dr Jamal Hisham Hashim.

    Deans of the participating institutions including UNU-IIGH have signed onto the Global Health Educators Climate Commitment and pledged:

    As leaders responsible for educating the health professionals of tomorrow, we are keenly aware of our obligation to ensure that they are fully prepared to address all health risks, including those resulting from the impacts of climate change. Our future health professionals must have the competencies needed to address the health needs of our communities and our patients, both now and into the foreseeable future. These competencies must be based on the best available science, and benefit from sharing best scientific and educational practices.

    We commit to ensuring that we train the next generation of health professionals to effectively address the health impacts of climate change. We commit to strengthening the knowledge base in the area of climate and health from a position of the best science and academic rigor.

    Tomorrow (11 December 2015) at a COP21 side event organised by the Centre Virchow-Villerme, UNU-IIGH Research Fellow Dr Jose Siri will present future directions in research and policy on climate change and health. UNU-IIGH Director Professor Anthony Capon said, “Health impacts of climate change is one of the research priorities at the United Nations University. Importantly, we argue for consideration of the many health benefits from transitions to low-carbon development and a green economy.”

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