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Concept Paper

WHO PHE Internships for IFMSA, Concept Paper, revised Oct 2012
This Concept Paper forms the basis of the collaboration, between the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) Department of Public Health and Environment (PHE), on Sustainable Development and Health (SD&H) and on Climate Change and Health (CC&H). The IFMSA Focal Point for this collaboration shall be the IFMSA Liaison Officer to the WHO (LO-WHO). The WHO PHE Focal Point for this collaboration shall ordinarily be a staff member of the Climate Change and Health Team, unless otherwise agreed. 1. BACKGROUND Health and sustainable development are intimately interconnected. Health is both an outcome of, and an input to Sustainable Development: environmentally problematic forms of development can have important health implications, while the failure to adequately address pressing health issues undermines sustainable development efforts. The challenge for WHO is to move Member States and the International SD community toward demanding and applying new thinking. a. At the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Member States agreed to launch a process to establish universal Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs will build on our advances under the Millennium Development Goals, and they will be an integral part of the post-2015 development framework. The public health community must come together and draw on our collective expertise to clearly identify quantitative health indicators and advocate for their inclusion in the SDG process, and ensure that specific health indicators developed are appropriate and effective to drive a more integrated and holistic conception of health and wellness across all SDGs. b. Moreover, there is a need to motivate the grassroots and consider creating a new mechanism to represent the health and equity interests of future generations in sustainability and climate negotiations. Indeed, WHO has previously recognized the important role of the public health community in highlighting the importance of health protection and promotion within the multilateral environmental negotiations (UNFCCC, UNCSD, CBD etc). In order to facilitate the inclusion of health concerns in the global sustainable development agenda, WHO and IFMSA have established a consultation group of NGOs and individuals interested in the health aspects of Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development. The group is convened on an informal basis, with a view to meet regularly at conferences of the UNFCCC, GA, any other relevant conferences on Sustainable Development and in follow up to the Rio+20 process, and keep in regular contact in the interim periods. It is currently administrated by staff and IFMSA interns of the WHO PHE. 2. INTERNSHIPS The primary mechanism of the collaboration shall be through the work of IFMSA students undertaking WHO PHE internships. All IFMSA interns within the WHO PHE will be bound by

this general Concept Paper, as well as any specific conditions or Terms of Reference subsequently agreed to by WHO PHE and the intern in question. a. Selection: i. The IFMSA shall provide WHO PHE with a shortlist of medical students with Curriculum Vitae and Expression of Interest. Such students should demonstrate an interest in Climate Change and Health and/or Sustainable Development/SDGs and Health, and an interest in interning with the WHO PHE. ii. Provisionally, it is expected that there will be 6 to 8 interns per year (focusing on climate change, health in sustainable development and other environmental health issues across the PHE Department). iii. Internships at WHO last a minimum of 6 weeks and a maximum of 6 months. Interns are not paid and there is no financial support for available for travel or living expenses. In addition, interns cannot apply for a paid position at WHO during their internship or in the three months after the end of their internship. iv. Final selection by WHO PHE will be subject to the availability of suitable candidates, and the WHO selection procedure. b. Core Duties and Responsibilities IFMSA interns will work to strengthen the presence of health within the UNFCCC process (both in the negotiations, and among civil society), and in the post-2015 development agenda in relation to Sustainable Development and SDGs. Core duties and responsibilities to achieve this include: i. Raise public awareness and understanding on health consequences of climate change, the co-benefits of mitigation, the role of the health sector in adaptation and mitigation effort, and on the SD&H interlinkages; ii. Exchange information on how research and arguments pertaining to health can be used to unite NGOs and strengthen arguments for all the other aspects of CC and SD; iii. Act as a communication channel between WHO PHE and interested NGO groups to streamline communication. This includes providing secretarial support to the consultation group described in 1.b. Such support may take the form of convening meetings, sending out regular updates and managing communications in between the COPs and intercessional; iv. Organise and coordinate a "Young Friends of Public Health" group; v. Assist IFMSAs other activities in CC and in SD, in consultation with the LO-WHO and any other relevant IFMSA Officials such as the Healthy Planet International Coordinator. This may include advocacy work and capacity building as appropriate or required. The distribution of time spent across these priorities will vary depending on the specific priorities of WHO and IFMSA during the period of internship. Where necessary, interns should discuss time management with their supervisor, in consultation with the LO-WHO. c. Additional Duties and Responsibilities In addition to the above, there will be opportunities to work on numerous other projects and activities, which may be specified in further Terms of Reference determined with the selected candidates prior to the entry on duty at WHO HQ. WHO work priorities in CC&H are listed here:

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ii.

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v.

Advocate and raise awareness: WHO is raising awareness of climate risks to health through advocacy campaigns, publications and policy briefings, encouraging representation of WHO and health actors in key climate forums, and providing multimedia products, which raise the prominence of health issues on the climate and health in sustainable development agendas and stimulate appropriate health protection by decision-makers. Strengthen partnerships: WHO, as the specialized UN agency for health, actively engages in the UNFCCC and One UN initiatives for Climate Change, and in the development of sustainable development goals (SDGs). Partnerships, networks and collaborations can improve knowledge and evidence, enhance protection of health from climate risks and enhance health benefits of low carbon energy choices. Enhance scientific evidence: WHO works with leading experts and institutions worldwide to improve the understanding and evidence base of the linkages of health and climate/sustainable development, the burden of disease attributable to climate change and economic costs of climate change adaptation and mitigation to protect health Capacity Building and Strengthen health systems: WHO supports member states to strengthen health systems to improve population health, and increase climate resilience of communities and the health system to identify, monitor, respond and prepare for changes in health and disease burdens related to climate. Sustainable Development and Health/Health in the Green Economy: WHO also works on the health implications of development policies, including on the sectors of the economy such as energy, housing transport, the health care sector or agriculture. This involves development of: Analyses and methods such as strategic health assessments; Systems and indicators for tracking the links between development strategies and health outcomes; Establishing the links between sustainable development and health priorities, such as Universal Health Coverage; Engagement with civil society, stakeholders and communications.

d. For more information please visit the following websites: i. http://www.who.int/globalchange/en/index.html ii. http://www.who.int/hia/green_economy/en/

APPENDIX: List of specific tasks currently requiring support from IFMSA interns (to be periodically updated by WHO PHE). Last updated: ?2012

Advocate and raise awareness


Webinars (general ones and also potential specific ones for GEF) Advocacy training materials on Climate Change and Children Health

Strengthen Partnerships
Coordination of Health and Climate Change network of NGOs. Supporting Greening the Blue activities Supporting the work on Health and Biodiversity and the collaboration with CBD

Enhance Scientific Evidence


Systematic reviews to be defined

Capacity Building and Strengthen Health Systems


Finalization of the different add-ons to the V&A started by Tim Bouley. Support to finalize the compendium of WHO CCH capacity building tools already available, in line with UNCC:Learn initiative and already started with EURO. Maintaining and improving accessibility to tools and technical guidance (i.e. updating of the resources on access to finance, update and finalization of roster of regional and country experts on CCH, and periodic Update of website, and active management of the GEF WOW site (need to be registered in advance for 1 day training to use our system) - for interns that are both IT competent and longer term) Support to carry out GEF knowledge management related activities (bulletin or other relevant ones)

Sustainable Development and Health/Health in the Green Economy


Follow up on consultation initiated by PHE Measuring Health gains from Sustainable Development