On this World Health Day (7 April 2022), as part of the Our Planet, Our Health campaign, WHO is issuing an urgent call to leaders and all people to accelerate action to maintain and protect health and contain the climate crisis The organization’s founding day, which comes at a time of heightened conflict and fragility.
In its call to action, the WHO notes that 99 percent of people breathe unhealthy air, mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels. A heating-up world sees mosquitoes spreading disease farther and faster than ever before. Extreme weather events, biodiversity loss, land degradation and water scarcity displace people and affect their health. Pollution and plastics reside at the bottom of our deepest oceans and highest mountains and have found their way into our food chain and bloodstream. Systems that produce highly processed, unhealthy foods and beverages are driving a wave of obesity, increasing cancer and heart disease, while causing up to a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. This health and social crisis threatens people’s ability to take control of their health and lives.
“The climate crisis is a health crisis: the same unsustainable choices that are killing our planet are killing people,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We need transformative solutions to free the world from its dependence on fossil fuels, to rethink economies and societies that are focused on well-being, and to protect the health of the planet on which human health depends.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed fault lines of injustice around the world and underscored the urgency of creating sustainable, prosperous societies that do not cross ecological boundaries and ensure that all people have access to life-saving and life-enhancing tools, systems, policies and environments.
The WHO manifesto to ensure a healthy and green recovery from COVID-19 mandates the protection and conservation of nature as a source of human health; Investing in basic services from water and sanitation to clean energy in healthcare facilities; Ensuring a fast and healthy energy transition; promoting healthy and sustainable food systems; build healthy and livable cities; and stop using taxpayers’ money to fund pollution.
The Geneva Charter on Wellbeing highlights the global commitments needed to achieve equitable health and social outcomes now and for future generations, without destroying the health of our planet.
As part of its World Health Day campaign, WHO is calling on governments, organizations, businesses and citizens to share their actions to protect the planet and human health.