Health and climate change: Latin American countries discuss how to build sustainable, low-emissions health systems – PAHO/WHO
On Tuesday 19 October 2021, the UK government, in its capacity as the next presidency of the 26th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). and Health Without Harm (HCWH), held a regional table on sustainable health systems and low emissions, and was attended by representatives of Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru. The Minister of Health of Peru and the Deputy Minister of Public Health and Service Delivery in Colombia, as well as high-level representatives from Chile and Argentina, met to discuss how the health sector can be an important part of solving the problem of climate change. Governments exchanged information on how to build sustainable, low-carbon health systems with the aim of protecting populations from the negative effects of climate change, while contributing significantly to reducing national and global emissions. The Round Table marks the beginning of a regional dialogue with the aim of promoting ambition and sharing good practices.
The session took place in the context of preparations for the upcoming COP 26 session, which will take place in Glasgow in November. The health sector was selected as a priority area in COP26 and to support this effort, the Presidency and its partners launched the COP26 Health Program, which includes an initiative for countries to commit to developing sustainable, low-emission health systems. The purpose of the roundtable was to provide guidance, best practices and available resources to potential countries in the region to support them in their own efforts, and to facilitate the exchange of experiences and regional perspectives on challenges and opportunities for climate-smart health systems.
Countries that publicly commit to the COP26 health program in the lead-up to COP26 and collectively will be announced at the COP26 health event on 9 November in Glasgow. Regardless of the status of progress in their commitments, the countries that participated in the regional roundtable agreed to continue to cooperate with each other and with the international organizations that convened the meeting after COP26, to improve support and cooperation in each national implementation process.