GCU to host Global Health and Climate Conference during COP26

Wed, 27 Oct 2021 12:39:00 BST
Health leaders from around the world will attend the conference
Health leaders from around the world will attend the conference

​Health professionals and leaders from around the world will be attending the global health and climate conference at GCU, on November 6, during the COP26 UN climate change conference.

Keynote speakers including Dr Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland and Chair of The Elders; Julia Gillard, former Australian Prime Minister and Chair of Wellcome Trust; Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, Jeni Miller, Executive Director of Global Climate and Health Alliance, and Professor Tahseen Jafry, Director of GCU’s Centre for Climate Justice, will attend the 2021 Global Conference on Health and Climate Change on the margins of the COP26 UN climate change conference.

Dr Fiona Godlee, Editor of the British Medical Journal, and Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director of the Environment, Climate Change and Health Department, will moderate a series of conversations with high-level representatives from various sectors - including in energy, transport, nature, food systems, and finance - on the transformational actions needed in order to protect people’s health from climate change. 

The Global Conference on Health and Climate Change is organised by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Climate and Health Alliance (GCHA), in close collaboration with the University and its Centre for Climate Justice, the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, the Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the Wellcome Trust. 

COP26 is the first UN climate summit since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. With health dominating the global political agenda, health professionals and leaders worldwide are calling for transformational change to protect the health of people and the planet.  

Unprecedented extreme weather events and other climate impacts are having a rising toll on people’s lives and health. Increasingly frequent extreme weather events, such as heatwaves, storms and floods, kill thousands and disrupt millions of lives while threatening healthcare systems and facilities when they are needed most. Changes in weather and climate are threatening food security and driving up food, water and vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, while climate impacts are also negatively affecting mental health. 

Speakers will address the health impact of climate change and respond to the main findings of the WHO COP26 Special Report on Climate Change and Health, which makes 10 recommendations for climate action to assure a sustained recovery from COVID-19, as well as an open letter signed by over two-thirds of the global health workforce – more than 45 million health professionals, and which calls for national leaders and COP26 country delegations to step up climate action. The letter will be delivered to world leaders on November 9.  

The one-day conference will have a special focus on climate justice, as well as the need to prioritise a healthy and green recovery from COVID-19. The conference complements a rich programme of health events scheduled to take place throughout COP26.