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April 7 - World Health Day. The time to act.

The latest IPCC report on climate change mitigation was released this week with a pressing message: It is now or never. As the climate crisis advances, the world needs to transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy that limits emissions and helps meet the ambitions of the Paris Agreement.

The motto of this year’s World Health Day edition is Our planet, our health, to highlight the importance of the interlinkage between human and planetary health. Coincidently, the health care sector is one of the main GHG emitters in the world. To put this in context, if the health sector were a country, it would be the fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter on the planet. 

But around the world, the health care sector is stepping up and taking action. From NGOs and communities fighting air pollution in South Africa to health care professional associations and hospitals working on community-based advocacy on air quality and health in India, to more than 60 health institutions in the Race to Zero, committed to halving their emissions by 2030.

National and sub-national governments are also rising up to the challenge. During COP26 more than 50 countries committed to developing climate-resilient and low carbon, sustainable health systems. The Colombian Ministry of Health and Social Protection partnered with Health Care Without Harm to promote the decarbonization of the country’s health system. And similar examples arise around the world, setting up the agenda on how to take actions to reduce emissions.

On World Health Day, join us in working for our planet, and our health.



Featured News


Additional Content

South Africa: Major court victory for communities fighting air pollution 

Environmental justice groups groundWork, Health Care Without Harm’s partner in South Africa, and Vukani launched in 2019 a landmark litigation demanding that the government clean up the air in the Mpumalanga Highveld. 

This March, the Pretoria High Court has recognized the poor air quality in South Africa's Mpumalanga Highveld region as a breach of residents’ Constitutional right to an environment that is not harmful to their health and well-being. Find out more.

Europe | Global decarbonization roadmap now available in Greek and Italian

Health Care Without Harm’s Global road map for health care decarbonization is now available in Greek and Italian, in addition to English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese. Published in 2021 in collaboration with Arup, the Road Map is the first of its kind to chart a global healthcare course to zero emissions by 2050. Available here.

Global roadmap for health care decarbonization in Greek

Southeast Asia | A call for gender-inclusive, climate-resilient, and equitable sexual and reproductive health care

Health Care Without Harm Southeast Asia and the International Planned Parenthood Federation East & South East Asia and Oceania Region announced a strategic partnership promoting gender-sensitive, climate-resilient women’s and girls’ health agenda across South East Asia and the Pacific. More about this initiative.

Illustration: Strategic partnership promoting gender-sensitive, climate-resilient agenda


Australia | IPCC Sixth Assessment Report: Health messages

The Climate and Health Alliance, our strategic partner in the Pacific region summarized and compiled the health messages from the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report on Climate Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Download the document.
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