main banner
You are here: Home page » News » Latest news

Highlights from Durban

Here’s an opportunity to watch inspiring speakers from the UNFCCC COP17 in Durban, see a few photos, and read some of the best quotes given from health experts.

Watch inspiring speakers!

From the UNFCCC press conference following the Climate and Health Summit: Professor Sir Andy Haines, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Prof. Dr. Hugh Montgomery, Climate and Health Council, University College London UK.

The video of the Climate and Health Summit will be ready shortly...

Videos from the WHO, UK and South African UNFCCC side event which advanced a new Framework for Health Adaptation to Climate Change in Africa for:

See some photos!

Our joint side event received a full page report in the Earth Negotiation Bulletin (see, page 2).

Photos from the meeting are also at

Health leaders were also photographed taking the temperature of a giant globe and finding that if there is no immediate intervention, temperatures will surpass 2 degrees Celsius, endangering the health of billions of human beings (photos coming soon!)

Some of the Best Key Quotes!

"Climate Change poses an immediate and grave threat to human health and survival worldwide. Many are already affected. Emissions are rising steeply. Action is needed now- not ’later’." - Dr. Hugh Montgomery, Climate and Health Council, UK

"Strong climate policy represents a major investment in people’s health. The EU has recognised the benefits for lung and heart health, which has helped to put health in the climate agenda in Europe. But in the midst of austerity associated with the Eurocrisis and with greenhouse gas emissions continuing to rise, isn’t it time for the EU to commit to an emission reduction target in Durban that would boost health protection, reduce health care bills and make Europeans proud?" - Genon Jensen, Executive Director, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)

"...if we don’t change the positions of national governments we will never have a meaningful global agreement that truly tackles climate change. Such change, people from countries ranging from Australia to South Africa to the US agreed, needs to come from movements from below — especially those that address the link between fossil fuels, public health and climate change and that argue that a clean, renewable energy path is essential to protecting public health." - Joshua Karliner, International Coordinator, Health Care Without Harm (HCWH)

"I’m a 21 year old medical student, and these negotiations have been carrying on my entire life. If we don’t reach a legally binding agreement on climate change soon, the protection and promotion of public health will be seriously undermined, world-wide." - Nick Watts, International Federation of Medical Students Associations

"After spending the day sharing ideas and talking to people from a wide variety of organisations and countries, the atmosphere at the summit was one of empowerment. One of the key successes of the day was to forge new networks between people working on climate and health world-over. A declaration on climate and health - which included a call for action at COP 17 - was released. The time is ripe for health professionals to engage with climate change advocacy more urgently than ever and the Climate and Health Summit bolstered everyone’s motivation and ability to do just that." - Beth Finch, winner of UCL’s Institute for Global Health travel bursary to COP17 and a member of the HEAL COP 17 delegation

Beth writes for the Climate and Health Council blog at:

"Climate change presents as one of the most important threats to the gains in public health made since the advent of democracy in South Africa. The vulnerable and marginalised such as the elderly, ill, pregnant women, children and rural poor are at greatest risk. Programmes of mitigation and adaptation must include health." - Dr. Rajen Naidoo, Nelson R. Mandela Medical School, UKZN, Durban

"Without bold action by governments climate change will magnify existing health crises, deepening and broadening the global burden of disease. The greatest burden will fall on those living in poor countries, who have contributed least to greenhouse gas emissions." - Peter Orris, MD, MPH, Professor, University of Illinois School of Public Health and Chair Environmental Working Group of World Federation of Public Health Associations

"Climate change represents a major threat as well as a significant opportunity for human health. Unmitigated climate change is having serious and increasing effects on the health of millions of people around the world. However effective action to cut emissions will not only reduce climate risk, it can bring substantial and immediate health benefits for individuals and populations." - Fiona Armstrong, Climate and Health Alliance, Australia; Fellow of the progressive think tank, the Centre for Policy Development (CPD) and convenor of the Climate and Health Alliance

Read her blog at:

“A Climate win is a Health win. By working together across sectors promoting the co-benefits on climate, health and equity of sustainable development, sustainable production and consumption and waste reduction we can create a climate for Health.” Cristina Tirado, Director of the PHI Center for Public and Climate Change

“Just as our thoughtless actions can harm our planet so can we make a positive and planned contribution to its recovery. If we all do our part we can collectively secure the health of future generations." - David C. Benton, Chief Executive Officer, International Council of Nurses

Originally posted on 15 December 2011

About HEAL

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

Contact us

Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)
28 Boulevard Charlemagne
B1000 Brussels, Belgium
Phone: +32 2 234 3640
Fax: +32 2 234 3649
Press: Elke Zander

Direct telephone numbers: HEAL team page.

HEAL website privacy policy