EuroHealthNet was part of a Joint Statement by the EU Health Policy Platform’s thematic network “Climate action through public health education and training”. This network is led by the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER).
Climate change continues to be the biggest challenge of the 21st century, with profound and growing negative consequences on public health. The cost of inaction to act in a timely and systemic manner will have catastrophic implications for the planet, the ecosystem, our livelihoods, and notably the health and social systems of today and in the future.
Responses to the climate emergency that do not prioritise public health, social rights and justice threaten to damage communities, and reaffirm existing structural and geographical inequities. These inadequate responses expose new dimensions of social and environmental vulnerabilities, maldistribution and/or waste of resources, and limited access to scientific advice and education for health. While Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 emphasises the urgency to take “action to combat climate change and its impacts”, inaction threatens the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals. The imperative for action is clear from each and every perspective: moral, ethical, environmental, economic, social and justice. There is a need for public health and healthcare professionals to be prepared to address the climate emergency. This statement will help guide climate-health education and training of the public health and wider health workforce.