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European medical and public health community welcome the first G20 Health Ministers’ meeting but urge ministers to recognise the threat to health from climate change.

On May 19-20 under the G20 presidency, the German Federal Health Minister, Hermann Gröhe will lead G20 health ministers in Berlin in a discussion of how global health crisis management can be improved.

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), together with 17 member and partner organisations, has addressed the G20 health ministers in an open letter, welcoming this first gathering of health ministers as an important step towards better health for all and that a discussion of climate and health be included.

The three stated priorities to be discussed during the meeting have been identified: global health crisis management, the strengthening of health care systems and the fight against antimicrobial resistance. In the letter, the undersigned organisations highlight how these priority areas are heavily impacted by the threat arising from climate change. It says that this important threat needs to be highlighted during the meeting.

WHO estimates that, in 2012, 12.6 million deaths (23% of all deaths worldwide) were attributable to modifiable environmental factors, many of which could be influenced by climate change or are related to its driving forces.

Representing millions of doctors, nurses and health professional in Europe, the signatories call on health leaders to recognize and act on the interconnectedness of climate change and health, and to reflect this in the meeting’s anticipated joint declaration.

Who are the G20?

The G20, representing the world’s 20 wealthiest nations, designated in 2009 as the premier forum for international cooperation among the 20 leading industrialized and emerging countries, consists of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, France, the UK, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the US and the EU. On December 2016, Germany has taken over the presidency of the G20 and has put global health on the agenda as one of the key priorities. As a result of that, the first ever G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting will take place this month in Berlin.

The 2017 G20 Summit will take place in Hamburg on 7/8th July.

Read the full letter here

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