New Delhi: The WHO on Wednesday called for strengthening collaboration between the health and environment sectors to address shared challenges.
She urged the public health community to join the efforts towards land restoration, halting desertification and building drought resilience

“The worrying reality is that our region records the highest number of deaths from climate change annually amongst all WHO regions. Climate change and biodiversity loss already pose major threats to health, the regional economy and livelihoods across our region,” Wazed stated.

World Environment Day is celebrated annually on June 5, after it was established at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment in 1972.

This year the focus is on land restoration, halting desertification and building drought resilience under the slogan “Our land. Our future. We are #GenerationRestoration.”

“We have prioritised mitigating the impacts of air pollution and hazardous chemicals, building healthcare facilities resilience to climate change, and strengthening the focus on clean and adequate water for drinking, basic sanitation, and hygiene,” she said.

Practical and innovative ways for the health sector to engage in land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience include integrating health impact assessments into land use planning processes.

This can involve assessing the potential health impacts of proposed projects on air and water quality, food security, and exposure to hazards such as drought and desertification, Wazed said.

It also includes implementing green building practices and sustainable infrastructure in healthcare facilities, to reduce their environmental footprint and contribute to land restoration efforts. This can include incorporating green spaces into hospital designs to promote healing and well-being.

There should be community-based health promotion, to empower communities taking ownership of land restoration and conservation initiatives through participatory health promotion programs, Wazed said.

She also stressed on building climate-resilient healthcare systems, to better withstand the impacts of climate change, including droughts and desertification and training healthcare workers in climate adaptation and emergency response strategies.

  • Published On Jun 5, 2024 at 03:53 PM IST

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