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Covid-19 impacting implementation of DoH climate change plan

The pandemic has slowed progress on the Department of Health’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the health sector (2019 – 2024), this newspaper has been told.

“The plan identifies the main climate change-related impacts and risks we expect to face in the health sector in the coming years and identifies concrete measures we can take to build resilience and to reduce our vulnerabilities,” according to the Department.

However, the Department spokesperson admitted that the pandemic has already slowed progress.

“The imperative to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the scale of the commitment on the part of the Department to this work, has had an impact on other areas of the Department’s work, including work on the implementation of the climate change adaptation plan,” the spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI).

“The Department’s Statement of Strategy 2021-23, to be published before the end of the year and to be implemented from the New Year, will set down how the Department intends to advance climate change-related work.”

Separately, the Irish Doctors for the Environment has told MI that it would like to see health professionals added to the climate change advisory council.

The council is an independent advisory body tasked with assessing and advising on how Ireland is making the transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050. It was established under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015.

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