Today’s launch of the innovative new Framework for a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being by a coalition of leading health organisations presents a unique opportunity for Australian policymakers to take meaningful action to mitigate the damage climate change will cause to public health.
The Climate and Health Alliance, a coalition of major health and medical organisations which includes the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA), devised the comprehensive national policy Framework in response to the increasing threat climate change poses to human health, incorporating recommendations for adaptation and mitigation across different portfolios and levels of government to encourage cohesive action and achievement of the Strategy goals.
Outlined in the Framework are seven Areas of Policy Action, including the phasing out of coal-powered energy, enhancing the environmental sustainability of hospitals, increasing food and water security, and a coordinated approach to managing the health impacts of extreme weather events such as heat stress, thunderstorm asthma, and increased spread of mosquito-borne disease and other infectious illnesses.
PHAA Board President David Templeman said, ‘The PHAA is proud to have been involved in the development of this important strategy aimed at reducing the significant health impacts caused by climate change, which is the greatest threat to public health at the present time’,
‘The areas of policy action outlined provide a practical guide as to how we can moderate these impacts, while also showing how federal government can work together with state and territory governments through the relevant portfolios to fully implement the strategy’, Mr Templeman said.
The Framework will assist the Australian Government in fulfilling its national obligations to reduce the impact of climate change on citizens, as well as its international obligations such as its commitment to the Paris Agreement which mandates that all national signatories consider citizens’ ‘right to health’ as they jointly work toward reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr Templeman said, ‘We’re pleased that Australia has maintained its commitment to the Paris Agreement, and this strategy is one way for the Australian Government to demonstrate that it is meeting its obligations’.
The Framework follows an extensive 12-month consultation to identify key priorities and concerns held by stakeholders regarding the health impacts of climate change, with unanimous support for the development of a national strategy for action.
The Framework will also benefit Australia in official reports against global climate and health indicators and the progress of individual nations in addressing the health impacts caused by climate change.