Call comes in letter signed by more than 40 million healthcare professionals backed by World Health Organisation and other influential groups
More than 40 million healthcare professionals from around the world have urged global leaders to build a healthy, climate-friendly economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis, in an open letter today backed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) among a raft of other influential groups.
Signatories to the letter, which collectively represent more than half of the global healthcare and medical workforce, include more than 200 medical groups, marking what its coordinators claim to be the biggest mobilisation across the sector since the run up to the Paris Agreement in 2015.
Their statement calls on leaders of the world's biggest economies to draw up recovery packages which invest in safeguarding public health and providing jobs, and highlights how sustainable agriculture, green energy, and clean transport are key to a healthy recovery.
Coordinated by WHO alongside the Global Climate and Health Alliance and air pollution campaign group Every Breath Matters, it urges G20 governments to take steps to shift subsidies away from fossil fuels towards renewables and low carbon technologies after Covid-19.
Moreover, it calls for recovery packages to prioritise investments in public health such as in clean air, clean water and a stable climate, arguing such investments would reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions while building greater resilience to future pandemics and creating more sustainable jobs.
The statement warns government to lean from failures exposed by the pandemic to tackle vulnerabilities in the economy and safeguard frontline healthcare workers, as well as pointing out that human health is compromised when the economy suffers.
By investing in greener, more sustainable industries, jobs, food production and supply chains, it argues governments can encourage healthier diets, more renewable energy, more walking and cycling, zero emission transport, and a radical regeneration of trees and nature.
"A healthy recovery recognises that human health, economic health and the planet's health are closely connected; the pandemic has demonstrated that economic recovery must be achieved in ways that strengthen our global health resilience," said Jeni Miller, executive director of the Global Climate and Health Alliance. "When paving out national recovery plans with the investment of vast amounts of public funds, governments must keep sight of these crucial relationships, and they must not give in to pressure from corporations to weaken environmental standards, which will have direct impacts on human health. This is not the time to go back to business as usual, it is a time to take bold steps forward to create a future that protects both people and the planet."
Other organisations backing the letter include the International Council of Nurses, the World Organisation of Family Doctors, and the World Federation of Public Health Associations, which have added their signatures alongside thousands of individual health professionals.
It is just the latest internationally coordinated effort to drum up support for a green recovery from the pandemic, following similar calls from major investment groups hoding trillions of dollars of assets, multinational businesses, political parties and campaign groups.
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