U.N. Should Prioritize Climate Resilience In UHC Agenda

Devex: Opinion: What does UHC look like in the climate change era?
Diana Schoder, research associate in global health, economics, and development at the Council on Foreign Relations and co-chair of the Energy and Environment Discussion Group of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy

“When the [World Health Assembly (WHA)] convened last month, there was one predominant message: [universal health coverage (UHC)] is the central priority in global health. … By focusing on UHC, WHA signaled its renewed commitment to a healthier, more equitable world. … [I]f WHO fails to meaningfully prioritize resilience alongside the UHC agenda, these fragile goals of equity will slide back once again. … Climate change is more than a health emergency — it is a health coverage emergency. … The fundamental goals of resilience and UHC are the same: Ensure equity without exception, mitigate health risks, and empower everyone to lead their healthiest lives. The concepts strengthen one another, and at the next annual WHA, they should be better reflected in one another by approving a new, integrated resolution on climate-resilient UHC. An early draft of the political declaration for September’s high-level meeting does include climate resilience, but the U.N. should elevate it to be a priority, which must then carry over to WHA with equal force…” (6/17).