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To Strengthen the Loss and Damages article in UNFCCC Negotiating Text. IFMSA POLICY BRIEF FOR PARTIES Climate Change COP 21 2015, Paris France 1. Rationale Climate change is the 21st century's most pressing health issue. Yet in current discussions health is still being treated as a peripheral issue, even though it is overarching. Although it has tremendous impacts on health, this nexus is still poorly reflected in the current UNFCCC Negotiating Text, and the impending decisions in Paris at COP21 make this an issue of great urgency. Recognition of the importance of actions on climate change related disaster have been integrated into the Loss and Damages articles of the UNFCCC negotiating text: “[The purpose of the mechanism shall be to promote and support the development and implementation of approaches to address loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including extreme events and slow onset climate change…]” (Article 5 of the ADP Text (10th November 2015), Option 1). What is absent from the text is a recognition that impacts of disasters go beyond physical damages, and is dramatically affecting the health of those experiencing them. Disaster have both physical and mental health components. Much of the mental health toll of natural disasters comes not directly from the destruction itself, but from the resultant collapse of the social support systems necessary for maintaining mental health. Climate-induced extreme weather events like floods, droughts, and temperature increase have a significant mental health burden, causing Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and increased suicide rates.The degradation of home environments causes distress amongst communities, and the natural environment is an important determinant of mental health. Climate change continues to challenge societal resilience. Comprehensive disaster risk reduction is the only way to prevent the erosion of decades of social development. Disasters are unforeseen and no country is immune. Disaster Risk Reduction is an essential investment. Hazards prevention is essentials for reducing the impact on societies. Disasters are essentially a public health matter and therefore healthcare professionals have a pivotal role in strengthening emergency preparedness, especially in extreme events settings, thus protecting the populations. 2. Actions IFMSA calls upon governments, non-governmental organizations and international organizations to: 1. Add to Section A, Article 5, Option 1, Paragraph 2 (10th November 2015 version): “The purpose of the mechanism shall be to promote and support the development and implementation of approaches to address loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including extreme events and slow onset events and the associated health impacts, in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change” 2. Adopt comprehensive disaster preparedness and response plans and programs that are inclusive and sustainable, covering the different stages of disaster management – risk reduction, preparation, response, and rehabilitation; 3. Provide up-to-date information pertaining to disasters, their determinants, their physical and mental health impact; 4. Recognize that disasters and emergencies affect the most vulnerable populations such as youth, women, disabled and the poor disproportionately and that tackling health inequity is an integral party of disaster preparedness and prevention

Contact Details Skander Essafi, Liaison Officer for Public Health Issues 2015-16 International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA) lph@ifmsa.org | www.ifmsa.org | @ifmsa

COP21 Policy Brief on Loss and Damages  

COP21 Policy Brief on Loss and Damages  

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