Health in all Policies – Health in All SDGs: Call for action on Climate Change

The Monaco Statement

Third high-level meeting of the WHO small countries initiative, Monaco, Principality of Monaco
Health and sustainable development: the inherent advantages of the small countries

We, the Ministers and delegates of the eight Member States of the European Region of the World Health Organization with populations of less than one million inhabitants, met in Monaco on 11-12 October 2016 to participate in the third high-level meeting of the small countries initiative, titled: “Health and sustainable development: the inherent advantages of the small countries”.

We reconfirm the commitment taken in the San Marino Manifesto (2014) and in the Andorra Statement (2015) to implement the core principles, approaches and values of Health 2020 – the WHO European policy framework for health and well-being – in our national strategies, policies and plans.

We, as Member States of the United Nations, agreed on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership. We, the small countries, are committed to working together in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), sharing experiences and using our joint voice internationally to improve the lives of our people in a sustainable way and to reduce inequalities.

Health is a pre-condition for sustainable development. The new dynamics created by the 2030 Agenda provide us with new opportunities. Inter-sectoral action to address social, economic and environmental determinants of health, whole-of government, whole of society and life-course approaches, and reducing health inequities will be reinforced by the universal and holistic approach taken by the 2030 Agenda and its commitment “to leave no one behind”.

Health in all policies means health in all SDGs.

While we acknowledge that the SDGs need to be achieved by addressing all of them together in a consistent manner, we, the small countries, urge for action particularly on one outstanding priority of our times – namely, urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts on health.

Climate Change has no borders. The health consequences are already felt worldwide and will affect the achievement of Goal 3, “health and well-being for all at all ages”, from changes in the distribution of infectious diseases to increased mortality and morbidity from more frequent and intense extreme weather events. These will be amplified by the consequences of climate change on the economy, the environment and our social system. Globally, some of the small countries are affected in their very existence and need our full solidarity.

However, action is possible. Interventions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions improve health locally and immediately contribute to reducing the burden of noncommunicable diseases and obesity.

Building on the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in 2010, which saw the adoption of the Parma Commitment To Act that aims, in particular, to protect health and the environment from climate change, and the 2015 Paris Agreement of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), we, the small countries, will use our experience and resources to respond and act using some of our intrinsic strengths – the structural qualities we share:

a) adaptation: we are responsive and can adapt quickly and strategically to external events;

b) innovation: we are early adopters and, in many instances, pioneers of innovations; and

c) participation: we are close to our communities and we hear the voice of our citizens.

Therefore, we, the members of the small countries initiative, capitalizing on our inherent strengths, commit to:

  • further improving and developing  technical capacity, also by means of innovative tools, in relation to climate change, sustainable development and human health;
  • sharing information, good practices, experiences and lessons learned with regard to science, planning, policies and implementation of prevention of health effects of climate change (adaptation) and sustainable measures to achieve health co-benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation) measures;
  • supporting the scale-up of innovations and the sharing of best practices aimed at responding to the increasingly numerous urgencies caused by climate change;
  • engaging with other Governments, civil society, scientists, and the wider global health and development community on intersectoral action on climate change, sustainable development, health and related inequalities; in particular, through cooperation with formal and informal education sector/ministries/structures with the view to raising awareness among communities/population/society from the earliest stages of life and as appropriate through cooperation among small countries; and
  • advocating for concrete action on climate change and health at the Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health.

With this statement, we accept responsibility in maintaining and improving health and sustainable human development for our young and future generations.