Civil Society Organisations and Health Professionals Crucial for Combating the Air Pollution and Climate Crisis

August 3, 2023, New Delhi: G20 leaders must recognize and actively support civil society organisations and health professionals for raising awareness, promoting sustainable practices and garnering public support for policies that promote climate action and reduce #AirPollution, was the conclusion and call to action at a #C20 discussion organized by Climate Action Network South Asia, Health Care without Harm, Warrior Moms, Lung Care Foundation and EnGIO in New Delhi today.

“Protection and promotion of public health are central objectives and guiding principles in climate-related policies and interventions. Taking health as a foundational consideration reflects how the impacts of #ClimateChange on health are significant, immediate, and far-reaching, and therefore necessitate dedicated attention and resources. This approach places equal emphasis on climate action and the protection of public health, seeking to maximize health gains and climate action,” said Dr Arvind Kumar of Lung Care Foundation in his keynote address.

“Health professionals, including doctors, nurses, and public health experts, are on the frontline of responding to the health impacts of climate change and air pollution. They are usually the most trusted voices and play a very important role in educating their patients and communities about the health impacts of environmental pollutants and by advocating for public health policies that prioritize the health of individuals and the planet,” said Shweta Narayan of Health Care without Harm.

“The role of civil society and health professionals to address the global environmental and climate crisis and move towards a sustainable future cannot be overstated. The interconnectedness of various factors such as climate change, air pollution, public health, #JustTransition, #ClimateResilience and social justice demands comprehensive and collaborative efforts”, said Sanjay Vashist, Director of Climate Action Network South Asia.

“There is an urgent need for integrating climate and health considerations into policy and planning, which is critical for achieving the goals of both the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. India’s #G20 Presidency can make a significant impact on global health outcomes and to keep health at the heart of climate action, the health sector and civil society must work together to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change”, said Prof. Vinod Menon, International Coordinator of C20 Sustainable and Resilient communities working group.

“Nature responsive city planning is required to cope with the relentless impacts of climate change.  we cannot ignore and destroy the natural traits of a city, it’s rivers, lakes, ponds, grasslands, wetlands, trees that can buffer climate induced disasters whether it is floods or heatwaves” said Mr P K Das, renowned architect and city planner from Mumbai.

“The global climate negotiations will go on at their own pace, what we need is urgent local climate action driven by health professionals, citizen and community groups”, said Ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri in the concluding session of the day-long meeting. 

The main recommendations from the discussion are as follows:

  • The G20 should integrate health into climate policies and advocate for climate-smart policies, promote low-carbon healthcare, and build health system resilience.
  • The G20 should promote climate literacy and public awareness campaigns and invest in public health research by supporting vulnerable communities and leading community-based initiatives.
  • The G20 should frame policies addressing climate change and its adverse effects need to have clear-cut, time-bound goals to significantly reduce, reject and discourage the use of agrochemicals by all means- pesticides and fertilizers – as a key strategy to reduce GHG emissions and advance resilience and mitigation.
  • The G20 should mainstream adaptation into urban planning. This would involve considerations like- increasing green spaces, climate-resilient infrastructure (in building/public infrastructure design, construction & operation), and efficient water and waste management systems.
  • The G20 should ensure equitable Energy Access while prioritizing rapid phase out of all fossil fuels.
  • The G20 should deliver on promises made in the Paris Agreement and in the Glasgow Pact: walk the talk on ending own use of fossil fuels; end direct international fossil fuel financing, and commit to revising NDCs in line with 1.5°C compatible pathways.

For more information, contact:

  • Chandan Khanna, India Programs Manager, Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Email:
  • Divyanshi Yadav, Communications Officer, Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA):

#AirPollution  #C20  #ClimateChange  #ClimateResilience  #G20  #JustTransition