International Federation of Hospital Engineering

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Meeting: 
144th session of the Executive Board<br>24 January - 1 February 2019
Agenda Item: 
5.6 Health, environment and climate change
Statement: 

I represent the International Federation of Healthcare Engineering. We represent 30,000 professionals from around the world who plan, design, construct, and operate the healthcare facilities of the world.

We in this room recognize the reality, and the health emergency of climate change. The IPCC says we have less than a decade to implement changes to help avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Yet the operation of today’s health infrastructure consumes disproportionate amounts of fossil fuels and generates disproportionate amounts of greenhouse gasses. At the same time, many countries have no access to health services at least partly because of a lack of available energy sources for their healthcare buildings and operations. These peoples need to develop clean-energy to give their people access to care.

A foundational principle in the delivery of health services is to first do no harm, but we in healthcare, accidentally, are a big part of the problem.

Much work around the world has shown that healthcare buildings can be designed, built, and operated with climate neutrality.

As advocates and leaders for health, we professionals in the Healthcare services have the power to set the example, and to lead the world in making the needed changes to protect the world’s health.

In light of these facts, the IFHE recommends that WHO:

1. Seek to make its own operations carbon neutral.
2. Establish a focused effort to help the health sector to achieve carbon neutral health delivery.
3. Participate in the policy process to encourage the countries of the world, and the health systems of the world, to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, with significant reductions by 2030. Tomorrow’s buildings are being built today and we must avoid carbon lock-in.

We, the engineers of the healthcare system, want to help. Together, we can do this.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to help you and the peoples of the world.