Climate change has the potential to undermine the past 50 years of public health gains, says the International Council of Nurses (ICN).
The ICN – representing 130 nursing associations worldwide – has called on governments, health system leaders, national nursing associations and nurse leaders to “take immediate action to mitigate climate change and to support people and communities around the world to adapt to its impacts”.
The ICN President Annette Kennedy said: “As the nursing profession is committed to protecting health and wellbeing and to promoting social justice, it has a duty to work to mitigate the effects of climate change and help people and systems to adapt.”
“Nurses have a shared responsibility to sustain and protect the natural environment from depletion, pollution, degradation and destruction.”
“There is a clear relationship between climate change and health, with people in low- and middle-income countries facing disproportionate effects,” said Dr Isabelle Skinner, ICN’s Chief Executive Officer.
“Nurse leaders can empower individuals, families and communities to make healthy lifestyle choices; work with communities to build resilience to the impacts of climate change; and advocate for policies that promote the reduction of healthcare waste.”
In a position statement, the ICN:
- urges countries, that have not yet done so to ratify the Paris Agreement without further delay
- calls on governments to invest in climate change and public health research.