Human-caused environmental disruption will have a dramatic impact on the health and wellbeing of people around the world. Unless urgent and large-scale mitigation measures are taken across society, human health will be increasingly damaged by the negative consequences of the climate emergency. This includes extreme weather events and changing patterns of deadly diseases, such as malaria, dengue and cholera. Droughts, floods, insect plagues and changing rainfall patterns can all jeopardise food production and people’s means of survival.
“The clock is ticking, we are already seeing how the people we serve in places like Mozambique, Honduras and Niger have been hit hard by climate shocks,” says Stephen Cornish, MSF’s General Director. “We will reduce our emissions and review how we conduct our operations. We should have done this years ago, we are already very late. We have a medical and ethical obligation to our patients and their families to not to harm them or their environment as a result of our practices.”
Many of the locations where MSF works today are susceptible to a dramatically changing climate. Communities there face multiple, overlapping health needs as a result of frequent epidemics, food insecurity, conflict and displacement. The health emergencies in places like Somalia or the Sahel region will increase in scale and severity as the climate emergency accelerates. It is clear this crisis will hit the most vulnerable people on Earth.
“It is a big, crucial step forward,” says Christine Jamet, MSF Director of Operations. “As an emergency organisation, it’s a daunting task to green our operations because our priority is still to provide rapid assistance in some of the world’s most remote places. While we don’t yet know exactly how we are going to get there, we know that we must. That is why we have set this target and why we are committing to publicly and transparently report on the progress we make towards meeting it. We simply have no other choice.”