U.S. accepts "climate change affects health" at G7 meeting in Italy

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-07 05:42:28|Editor: yan
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by Stefania Fumo

ROME, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- The United States have accepted that climate change affects human health, Italian Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin said Monday at the close of a Group of Seven (G7) meeting of health ministers in Milan.

This outcome is important because U.S. President Donald Trump said in June that he had decided to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement.

In their 11-page final declaration, the health ministers of Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, the United States, and Britain plus the EU "noted that climate and environmental-related factors can aggravate existing health risks and create new threats."

Examples of these threats include "changes in the patterns and increased incidence" of disease, increased water and food insecurity, pollution, poverty and social exclusion, aggravation of gender inequalities, and international migration, according to the declaration.

However, the focus of the Italy-chaired two-day meeting, which kicked off Sunday, was climate change. "We have reached a shared conclusion," Italian news agency ANSA quoted Lorenzin as saying at the close of the meeting. "We drew up a document which recalls the position of the U.S., which however accepted the impact of climate-related factors on human health."

The final declaration said the G7 "acknowledge that some environmental-related factors contribute to health risks, such as those associated with changing patterns of infectious diseases, extreme weather events, sea level rise, ocean acidification, air, water, biodiversity, soil pollution, water scarcity, food insecurity and malnutrition, food safety issues and increased migration."

While the U.S.side "intend to exercise its right to withdraw from the Paris Agreement", the remaining G7 ministers as well as the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety "reaffirm our governments' strong commitment to swiftly implement the Paris agreement as stated at the Taormina Summit" held in May this year," the declaration said.

Also on Monday, WHO Assistant Director-General for Family, Women's and Children's Health Flavia Bustreo told ANSA that the G7 health ministers have allocated 2 billion euros (2.3 billion U.S. dollars) in 2018 to a fund for women's and children's health.

The fund has three objectives, Bustreo said: to reduce global maternal mortality from 300,000 such deaths a year, to cut down infant mortality from the current 5.6 million deaths a year, and to bring down adolescent deaths, which currently number one million a year.

Teenage deaths are mostly due to car crashes, early pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases, Bustreo added.

Italy is the current rotating presidency of G7 group this year with a series of meetings in Italian cities.