Earth Day in the Commonwealth

Commonwealth reaffirms commitment to climate action

On 22 April, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland will witness the signing of the landmark global agreement to tackle climate change at United Nations headquarters where countries are expected to put their signatures to the agreement, which sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to below two degrees Celsius.

An outcome of the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, the agreement saw 195 countries adopt the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. The Commonwealth has a strong track record of leadership on collective action on environmental issues, which dates back to 1989 when it adopted the Langkawi declaration on the environment.

Climate change is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest public health threats of this century. Human health has depended on flourishing natural environments and systems, as well as wise stewardship of those systems. However, they are being degraded to an extent unprecedented in human history. Environmental threats to human health are characterised by uncertainty and unpredictability. This requires urgent transformative action to protect both present and future generations.

“We are saying to our member countries, you are not alone in the climate change challenge. The Commonwealth will be with you every step of the way, as you work towards achieving your climate action goals.”

The Commonwealth Health and Education Unit is piloting a health policy toolkit developed in partnership with Public Health Wales and the UK’s Department of Health, which includes a component based around climate change and environmental health. This is a key component of the Commonwealth Health and Education Unit’s health system policy framework. Please find the draft copy of the policy toolkit here: Health Protection Policy Toolkit. Please contact the facilitation team on healthhub@commonwealth.int to provide any feedback or comments.

See more at the Commonwealth secretariat main site here