IFMSA Speaks Up for Health & Equity at COP20

December 2nd 2014, Lima (Peru)
Delivery statement at the Opening Plenary of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP)
Mr Co-Chairs,
Distinguished Delegates,

Thank you for the opportunity to speak on behalf of YOUNGO and of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations. My name is Claudel, and I am a medical student. By 2020, the time the 2015 Agreement is expected to enter into force, I will be a doctor and be called upon to care for the population’s health. This will be an impossible task if the ADP keeps falling behind its mandate.

Some of the greatest impacts of climate change for the current and future generations will be on our health and on our well-being. It is crucial that the INDCs include a clear assessment of the health co-benefits associated with mitigation and adaptation activities, especially in relations to Articles 30a and 31d of the ADP draft. Health gains, if well evaluated and monitored, will offset a significant part of the costs of shifting to a low-carbon system.

We call on INCDs to include all the elements of the Durban mandate, as an agreement that is as much about finance, technology transfer, capacity building, transparency of actions and adaptation, that it is about mitigation. Furthermore, we ask for parties to use a discount rate of 0%, as to not discount the lives of future generations and to strive for intergenerational equity.

We call on Parties to include clear, equitable, ambitious contributions to get to zero: zero carbon emissions by 2050. This has to be included as a key element of the preamble of the ADP text. Without the distorting effect of the discount rate and with consideration of health co-benefits, commitments will finally be seen as opportunities. INDCs are a matter of leadership, a matter of a commitment for healthier, more resilient and more sustainable societies.

On behalf of the youth and of all my future patients, I am asking you today to help ensure that COP20 puts us on track towards a global agreement that will acknowledge and respect the common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities of countries, an agreement that will deliver rapid and sustained emissions reductions to stay below 1.5C and to protect our health and those of the future generations.

Claudel P-Desrosiers

Ps. We will be sending a more complete update of our first two days at COP20 tonight! 

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