Today, CanWaCH applauds the first ever Health Day at the COP28 UN Climate Conference. As the intersection between health and climate rises increasingly to the fore, this occasion marks an important acknowledgement that convergent problems require equally convergent solutions.
However, we can’t forget that there is a third element that is inextricably linked with health and climate — gender. We know that the health impacts of climate change disproportionately affect women and girls1, particularly those in the global south. In India, Nepal and Pakistan, for example, researchers have found that for every one degree rise in the yearly average temperature, there is a 4.5 per cent increase in intimate partner violence.
In May 2024, CanWaCH will be further exploring this critical nexus of gender, health and climate through our Healthy World Conference in Montréal, Quebec. Through this event, we will draw on the expertise within our membership and broader community of domestic and international stakeholders to build on the momentum initiated through COP28 and other key international moments. More information on registration will be available in the coming weeks.
In the words of Shweta Narayan, international climate and health campaigner for Health Care without Harm and recent keynote speaker at the CanWaCH AGM, “health systems cannot adapt their way out of the climate crisis.” Likewise, we believe that those working in global health and gender equality cannot rely only on adaptation. The planet, and all her inhabitants, require a level of innovation, collaboration and problem-solving unlike any seen before.