Climate & Health: WHO Manifesto For A Healthy Recovery From COVID-19

WHO’s prescriptions for a healthy and green recovery from COVID-19: The pandemic is a reminder of the intimate and delicate relationship between people and planet.

“The pandemic is a reminder of the intimate and delicate relationship between people and planet. Any efforts to make our world safer are doomed to fail unless they address the critical interface between people and pathogens, and the existential threat of climate change, that is making our Earth less habitable.”

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Address to the 73rd World Health Assembly.  May 18th 2020.

What We have Learned from COVID-19

COVID-19 is the greatest global shock in decades. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost, and the world’s economy likely faces the worst recession since the 1930s. The resulting loss of employment and income will cause further damage to livelihoods, health, and sustainable development.

  • We cannot go back to the way we did things before.
  • Increasing numbers of infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, SARS and Ebola, have made the jump from wildlife to humans.
  • All available evidence suggests that COVID-19 has followed the same route.
  • As infections spread, a lack of universal health coverage has left billions of people without reliable and affordable access to medical treatment.
Why We Need Green Recovery From COVID 19

Attempting to save money by neglecting environmental protection, emergency preparedness, health systems, and social safety nets, has proven to be a false economy.

The world cannot afford repeated disasters on the scale of COVID-19, whether they are triggered by the next pandemic, or from mounting environmental damage and climate change. Going back to “normal” is not good enough.

Possible Bright Future
  • The “lockdown” measures have slowed economic activity, and disrupted lives – but have also given some glimpses of a possible brighter future.
  • In some places, pollution levels have dropped to such an extent that people have breathed clean air, or have seen blue skies and clear waters

National governments are now committing trillions of dollar. But the allocation of these investments, and the policy decisions that will guide both short- and long-term recovery, have the potential to shape the way we live our lives, work and consume for years to come.

Nowhere is this more important than in their effects on environmental degradation and pollution, and particularly on the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving global warming and the climate crisis.

Prescriptions for a Healthy, Green Recovery
  • Protect and preserve the source of human health: Nature
  • Invest in essential services, from water and sanitation to clean energy in healthcare facilities
  • Ensure a quick healthy energy transition
  • Promote healthy, sustainable food systems
  • Build healthy, liveable cities
  • Stop using taxpayers money to fund pollution

Source: WHO