Speech by Robert Glasser at the Second Global Conference on Health and Climate
Second Global Conference on Health and Climate
Paris, 7-8 July 2016
Speaker: Mr. Robert Glasser, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction
“Building Healthier Societies through implementation of the Paris Agreement”
The links between health and climate risk are increasingly clear. A 20 year analysis of disaster trends prepared by UNISDR for COP21 showed that over 6,000 weather-related disasters claimed at least 606,000 lives and affected more than four billion people between 1995 and 2015.
Weather and climate dominate the risk landscape like never before, accounting for 90% of all major recorded disaster events.
Last year the majority of displacement caused by natural hazards was caused by extreme weather events during a year which saw a record number of droughts, widespread flooding and 90 major tropical storms. El Nino and weather-related hazards resulted in 14.7 million displacements in 2015.
A more risk informed public is starting to understand the intimate links between climate and health when it comes to public health emergencies linked to the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, the impact of floods on safe water and sanitation, the destruction of health facilities by storms, the toll on health from climate pollutants and the spread of agricultural drought and its impact on malnutrition rates.
The linkages between climate, health and disaster risk were recognized last week by the leaders of Canada, the United States and Mexico when they agreed to cooperate for the first time on disaster risk reduction, early warning systems and to adopt a series of measures which raises some hope that we can keep global temperature rise to below 2⁰C.
Health and people’s well-being is a key element of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, adopted by member states in March 2015 at the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan and endorsed by the UN General Assembly in June 2015.
The Sendai Framework is people-centred, focuses on managing risks rather than managing disasters, and covers both natural and man-made hazards including biological, technological and environmental hazards.
The Sendai Framework recognizes the importance of a multi-hazard approach to disaster risk reduction. Reducing disaster risk needs to be factored into development at all levels as well as within and across all sectors.
The goal of the Sendai Framework is to prevent new and reduce existing disaster risk, through the implementation of measures that prevent and reduce hazard exposure and vulnerability to disaster, increase preparedness for response and recovery, and so strengthen resilience.
Just a year after its adoption, it is having a significant impact on political commitment to disaster risk management including climate change adaptation. The Indian government has used it as the basis for its first ever National Disaster Management Plan.
In Thailand earlier this year, the Bangkok Principles for the implementation of the health aspects of the Sendai Framework were adopted at an international conference organized by UNISDR, WHO and the Thai Government.
The Bangkok Principles spell out clearly the need to integrate health into disaster risk reduction policies while also including disaster risk management in health policies.
The Bangkok Principles open up opportunities for collaboration between all relevant sectors and stakeholders to prevent and/or reduce the risk of health emergencies such as pandemics that have the potential for huge social and economic impact.
They also offer guidance to prevent and reduce the health impact of natural or man-made disasters on health and wellbeing of the people.
The Bangkok Principles put health resilience at the heart of disaster risk management in the face of crises such as Ebola and Zika virus outbreaks.
In short, they follow up on the Sendai Framework to position health as a key area of focus for disaster risk reduction.
Four of the seven global targets of the Sendai Framework have direct links to health, focusing on reducing mortality, and number of affected people by disasters, enhancing early warning systems and promoting the safety of critical infrastructure including health facilities.
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