Indigenous WGIndigenous WGEvery year on 9 August, the international community comes together to celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, paying tribute to indigenous communities around the globe.
 
WFPHA acknowledges the contribution of indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups and the injustices committed against them throughout the world and the impact on their health and well-being and we pay respect to their elders past and present.
 
During the last World Congress on Public Health, WFPHA has created a working group on Indigenous health, chaired by Adrian Te Patu, indigenous men and public health experts from New Zealand, as well as members of WFPHA Governing Council.

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The World Federation of Public Health Associations presents the First Nations Wellbeing Statement, which shows the outcome of the World Congress on Public Health.

A World Leaders Dialogue on Suicide Prevention for First Nations people was held at the World Congress on Public Health (WCPH) in Melbourne, Australia, on April 4th, 2017. The Black Dog Institute and Australian Health Promotion Association sponsored this event. Richard Weston, the Chief Executive of Australian’s Healing Foundation, facilitated this event, which included presentations from leading global scholars and practitioners in suicide prevention. Most notably, presentations were given by Carol Hopkins, the Executive Director of the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation; Michael Naera, the Kia Piki te Ora Project Leader for Te Runanga o Ngāti Pikiao Trust; and Pat Dudgeon, a Professor at the University of Western Australia.

This paper is an outcome of World Leaders Dialogue on Suicide Prevention for First Nations people held at the 15WCPH, and is being presented to the hosts and partnering bodies of the WCPH, with the expectation that the actions are adopted into policy, and promoted by each organization.

These organizations include the World Federation of Public Health Associations.

This year global health was for the first time in the agenda of the G-20 summit held in Hamburg, Germany. The G20 leaders’ declaration was published on July 10, including a section on Safeguarding against Health Crises and Strengthening Health Systems and on Combatting Antimicrobial Resistance.

World leaders recalled their goal to achieve universal health coverage and committed to fully eradicate polio. They also addressed the issue of drug-resistant infections, especially Tuberculosis, with an increased financing commitment to tackle this disease that affects mostly developing countries. The need to advance preparedness and responsiveness against global health emergencies was recognized as well.

The World Health Organization has been identified as having a central coordinating role for capacity building and response to health emergencies. G20 leaders expressed their commitment to foster research and development activities through globally coordinated models to improve health and encouraged countries and International Organizations to strengthen cooperation in order to overcome the significant health challenges posed by mass movements of people.

However, some other global health issues deserving attention were not discussed during the Summit. In particular, the topic of attacks on medical facilities was not addressed. Under the Statute of the International Criminal Court, intentionally directing attacks against hospitals and medical units using the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts.

Many NGO’s and International organizations, and in particular the international medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), called on G20 leaders to address this urgent issue and take action to stop the practice of bombing medical units and killing medical personnel in countries at war.

You can read the press release of MSF on this topic here.

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(Hospital bombed in Gaza, 2014. Photo credit: CNN)

 

nuclear articlenuclear articleHistory was made at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on July 7, 2017, when the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weaponswas adopted by a vote of 122 Member States to 1 (The Netherlands, with 1 abstention, Singapore).

This Treaty prohibits development, testing, production, manufacture, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, use, and threat of use of nuclear weapons.

The World Federation of Public Health Associations welcomes this historic Treaty, and urges all states to sign, ratify, and implement it as a key step to safeguard global health.

The long process that it took to get to this point shows the power of joining together and speaking with one voice. While this Treaty can be considered a great achievement, we must continue the fight against nuclear weapons because there is still a lot of work to be done. The nuclear-armed and nuclear-dependent states that are not a part of this Treaty have been provided with practical and flexible ways to comply with these prohibitions once they decide to join. If they persist in defying the norms established by the Treaty, they will be declared as outlaw states.

John Loretz, the program director of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) has stated that, “The nine nuclear-armed states, which refused to participate in these negotiations, are now faced with a stark choice. They can comply with the norms that have been clearly and unambiguously established by the Treaty and eliminate their nuclear weapons, as they should have done decades ago, or they will be stigmatized as outlaw states.” These nine nuclear-armed states are: Russia, the United States, France, China, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea. While these nine countries are recognized as owning nuclear weapons, it doesn’t mean that they are the only countries that possess nuclear weapons. Other countries, such as Belgium, Germany, Italy, Turkey, and the Netherlands, deploy and store American nuclear weapons as part of NATO agreements. Other non-nuclear countries, such as South Korea, Canada, and Greece, previously have had similar agreements with the United States. These countries have also been recognized by Loretz, who said, “The states that base their security on the nuclear weapons possessed by other states can either withdraw from extended nuclear deterrence arrangements and cease all military planning and preparation for the use of nuclear weapons, or face similar global condemnation.”

Overall, this Treaty is great for the shared interests of humanity, and it provides a powerful legal, moral, and political tool moving forward. It has been a long and difficult process leading up to this point, and we must continue to work together and speak with one voice to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely in the world.

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