12 - 14 November 2014, Bangkok, Thailand – Climate change is considered one of the biggest global health threats of the twenty-first century. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that between 1970 and 2004 more than 140,000 excess deaths were caused by global warming every year. Since the impacts of a changing climate on public health are very alarming, discussions have started on how to better include health related issues in climate change negotiations.
In order to increase the visibility of interlinkages between Climate Change and Health, UNITAR, in cooperation with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and with the technical support of the World Health Organization (WHO), organized a three-day workshop on "Climate Change Diplomacy and Health" in Bangkok, Thailand. Twenty-six participants from national Ministries of Environment and Ministries of Health of Asian countries gathered for the workshop. This workshop was conducted within the Global Program: Adaptation to climate change in the health sector financed by the GIZ on behalf of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. A week earlier, a Workshop on Climate Change Diplomacy and Health took place for African officials in Nairobi, Kenya.
In the workshop, participants shared their national approaches to tackling the threat that climate change poses to health in their countries, and exchanged their views on how to best address health under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Sessions focused on both mitigation and adaptation measures to reduce the risks and vulnerability of communities, and practical exercises also called upon participants’ negotiation skills and strengthened their negotiation techniques, with particular emphasis on preparations for the forthcoming UNFCCC COP 20 conference in Lima, Peru. All exercises and lectures were facilitated by the trainers from UNITAR and WHO.
Many participants emphasized the importance of inter-ministerial coordination when addressing global challenges such as climate change and health. Furthermore, they expressed their wish to participate in more training activities like this in the future.
UNITAR looks forward to continuing the fruitful cooperation with GIZ and WHO with future training activities on climate change diplomacy and health.
Photo Credits: GIZ Thailand, Chayapan Dulyarat