National Children’s Health and Climate Leadership Forum 2020: Summary of Conference Proceedings Key Actions

By Rebecca Rehr

There is an urgent need to advance climate solutions to protect children, one of our most precious and vulnerable populations, from the harmful impacts of climate change. 

Although uncertainties remain regarding risks and appropriate policy response, failure to take prompt, substantive action — given our current knowledge — would be an act of injustice to all children.” – AAP Policy Statement on Global Climate Change and Children’s Health

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and ecoAmerica hosted the virtual National Children’s Health and Climate Leadership Forum in October 2020 to:

  1. Share information, ideas, opportunities and best practices in addressing children’s health and wellbeing amidst increasing impacts of climate change.
  2. Increase awareness and inspire action on climate change and children’s health.
  3. Build leadership, capacity, and collaboration to address just and equitable solutions that prioritize children’s health and youth engagement.

The AAP and ecoAmerica brought together 75 AAP members, environmental organizations, and health leaders for two days of presentations and discussion. Participants in the Forum were tasked with developing action plans designed towards building ambitious and just climate solutions. 

Read the Full Report 

There’s a lot of work to be done, but it’s also a tremendous opportunity and responsibility. Thank you for taking this on… We all have an important role to play in protecting children.” — V. “Fan” Tait, MD, FAAP

The report overviews tangible actions the participants discussed, and you can watch the presentations and keynote addresses here. Topics include:

  • Elevate youth voices in the climate movement
  • Connect children’s health and climate impacts with other relevant issues
  • Integrate principles of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in all aspects of climate and health work
  • Identify more funding and create more equitable access to existing resources to address climate and children’s health
  • Equip advocates and policy-makers with action-oriented resources
  • Activate networks outside of the climate sector
  • Develop and integrate climate and health curricula for health professionals
  • Highlight the health benefits of connecting children with nature

In pediatrics, we have the privilege to see the world through the eyes of the children we care for, and in doing so, we cannot ignore how the environment influences their health.” — Harleen Marwah


Read the Full Report

Watch the presentations and keynote addresses here.


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