National Strategy Climate, Health & Wellbeing

Towards a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia

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The Climate and Health Alliance is leading a process to achieve a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia. This builds on work done in 2013 when CAHA first called a National Plan for Climate, Health and Wellbeing in Australia. In June 2016, CAHA commenced the distribution to healthcare stakeholders of its Discussion Paper: Towards a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being.
This paper first reviews the health impacts of climate change in Australia. It then examines the current national climate change mitigation and adaptation policies, especially the extent to which they acknowledge and respond to the impacts of climate change on human health and the health sector. It highlights the obligations Australia now has under the global climate agreement, the Paris Agreement, to consider health in the context of its climate policies. Finally, the key elements of a National Strategy for Climate, Health and Well-being are outlined. The Discussion Paper is available here.
All health care stakeholders and interested parties are invited to respond to the ideas raised in the Discussion Paper through the online survey (available for review prior in the paper's Appendix).
Healthcare stakeholders and interested parties are also invited participate in an innovative 'virtual conference' - the 'Climate Health Wellbeing Online Discussion Forum' being held between 13th-21st August. This interactive facilitated online forum will enable participants to engage in a discussion with experts and peers, debate the ideas raised in the Discussion Paper, and propose priorities for the National Strategy for Climate, Health and Well-being. Visit http://bit.ly/2a2bfSX to request an invitation to the Discussion Forum.
The feedback on the Discussion Paper via responses to the survey and through contribution to the Discussion will inform the development of a policy proposal to go to the federal government. Health sector leaders will also be invited to a roundtable to discuss a summary of the feedback from these consultations in October 2016, and a subsequent policy proposal developed in consultation with supporting organisations. This policy proposal will then be put forward to the federal government.
The Climate and Health Alliance is calling on the federal Health Minister, Sussan Ley, to support the development of a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being.

Read the letter from CAHA to the Health Minister, Sussan Ley, here.

Download a presentation about the Campaign for the National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being here.

Want to support a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being? Click here to send an e-mail to your local MP and Senators.

What is the status of climate and health policy in Australia?

CAHA surveyed the main political parties in the lead up to the 2016 election. The results appear below. CAHA 2016 Election Scorecard Social v03

What work has been done on this previously?

Climate resilience standards for healthcare

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CAHA produced a Proposed Standard for Minimising the Health Risks of Climate Change in Healthcare in 2015, in response to an invitation from the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare, as part of the review of national health performance standards.
The evidence is clear that climate change poses risks to the safety and quality of patient care. Thus climate change should be included in the risks that need integrated systems of governance as in Standard 1 of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards.
Healthcare standards such as these are needed to ensure healthcare services are adequately prepared to ensure safety and quality of healthcare is not compromised as a result of climate change impacts, and that health services are taking positive steps to reduce their emissions to avoid contributing to the problem, and putting safety and quality even further at risk from increasingly dangerous climate change.
The Proposed Standard for Minimising the Health Risks of Climate Change in Healthcare is available here, and a Background Paper: Climate Change is a Threat to Safety and Quality of Health Care is available here.  

A National Strategy for Climate, Health and Well-being (2013)

In the lead-up to the 2013 federal election, CAHA led a consultation with its member groups and developed the following position regarding a National Strategy for Climate, Health and Wellbeing.
  • A national strategy was required to outline Australia's response to the health risks from climate change and the carbon intensive national economy;
  • This should include strategies to improve the preparedness and ability of the healthcare sector to respond to climate threats to health, including from extreme weather events;
  • Climate resilience in the healthcare sector should be supported through the establishment of a national sustainable healthcare unit in the Department of Health and Ageing to drive change towards low carbon operations in the health sector;
  • The nomination of or establishment of a national agency with responsibility for developing and coordinating policy and research consistent with the National Strategy for Climate, Health and Wellbeing was required.

The functions of this agency were envisioned to include:

  • evaluation and reporting on risks to health from climate change and on health benefits from reducing emissions
  • development and monitoring of health impact assessment processes to evaluate the health impacts of policies, plans and projects across sectors, in particular in relation to energy and transport infrastructure projects
  • implementation of an evidence-based climate and health-in-all-policies approach to all policy development
  • the development and delivery of educational campaigns to inform the community on links between climate change, emissions and health and wellbeing
For more information, to download the complete CAHA 2013 Federal Election Platform, click here.