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The Health and Security Perspectives of Climate Change: How to Secure our Future Well-being

Emma Gollub, Head of Communities at 2degrees, introduces a forthcoming summit on well-being from a health and security perspective:

The Health and Security Perspectives of Climate Change: How to Secure our Future Well-being
8.30am to 5pm, 17th October 2011 – please note new date
BMA House, London

A high level briefing aimed at understanding the problems and identifying solutions around climate change and the implications for health and security. Find out more and register…

When we think about climate change, how often do we consider the effects of social unrest and conflict that it can cause worldwide, even in Europe? And, do we recognise that climate change is a critical challenge facing human health and healthcare systems?

In February this year, the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Public Health Association (APHA) warned that global warming is responsible for health problems caused by “population displacement, heat waves and drought, flooding, infectious and vector-borne diseases* and potable water supplies.” (*e.g. mosquitoes). In April, The British Medical Journal (BMJ) published an editorial entitled “Climate change, Ill-health and Conflict”, written by senior physicians and military personnel at the UK Ministry of Defence, not least in response to a report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) which points to the effects of climate change as a threat to global security in the first half of the 21st century.

With the scale and the urgency of these risks impossible to ignore, the BMJ, Climate Health Council and Ministry of Defence are hosting a Climate Change Summit in London on 17th October, following on from the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn. All are welcome to apply to attend this summit. It is an opportunity for individuals and organisations to obtain clarity on crucial issues of health, security and sustainability, and to better understand the associated geopolitical, social and economic problems. At the summit, active participation and interaction will be encouraged in search of solutions, not least from business leaders.

This is a unique and high-profile day of top-level briefings, delivering key security, medical, political and business perspectives to raise the profile of the health and security threats that climate change presents to our economies and societies. Other partners at the Summit include The European Climate Foundation, The Zoological Society and Institute of Zoology, The UCL Institute for Global Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, The World Health Organisation, and 2degrees.

Speakers include:

  • Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti, Climate and Energy Security Lead, UK Ministry of Defence;
  • Surgeon Rear Admiral Lionel J Jarvis, Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Health), UK Ministry of Defence;
  • Professor Sir Andy Haines, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM);
  • Professor Chris Rapley, former Director of The Science Museum and British Antarctic Survey, Professor of Climate Change at UCL;
  • Dr Fiona Godlee Editor, BMJ;
  • Professor Hugh Montgomery, UCL Institute for Health and Performance;
  • John Ashton, Founding Director of E3G and the Special Representative for Climate Change of the UK Foreign Secretary;
  • Peter White, Director, Global Sustainability, Proctor and Gamble;
  • Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, Senior Scientist, Dept. of Public Health and Environment at The World Health Organisation;
  • and many more.

Some of these organisations may make unusual bedfellows, with medical and military professions not always so aligned. But, on these issues they do agree: climate change is an immediate and serious threat to both global health and security. In the words of the BMJ “like all good medicine, prevention is the key”.

The Summit will run from 08:30 to 17:00 on Monday 17th October in London. For more information and to register, please visit http://climatechange.bmj.com/ or contact Emma Gollub at 2degrees.


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