Against the backdrop of the 65th World Health Assembly  in Geneva, IDF and Bupa hosted the first-ever expert dialogue on diabetes and climate change on May 23. For the first time representatives of both health and climate sectors gathered to discuss how to jointly tackle these serious challenges.
Opened by Sir Michael Hirst, President-Elect of IDF and Lord Leitch, Chairman of Bupa, the event brought type 2 diabetes and climate change into the spotlight, as two of the most urgent challenges of the 21st century. Lord Leitch commented “Bupa recognises that healthy people need a healthy planet. Climate change alongside non-communicable diseases are the big global health threats of the 21st century”.
Well-respected panellists including, Sir George Alleyne, Director-Emeritus of PAHO and Dr Maria Neira of the World Health Organization, highlighted overlooked connections between climate change and type 2 diabetes in the global policy dialogue. Along with the event participants they also examined approaches capable of jointly mitigating their risks and repercussions.
“Diabetes and climate change don't cause each other. They are different drums that play in the same orchestra” said Associate Professor Colagiuri from the University of Sydney during the event.
In the lead up to Rio+20  negotiations in June, Ann Keeling, Chair of the NCD Alliance and event moderator underlined that “Health must be at the heart of sustainable development”.
All panellists concluded that doing nothing was not an option.
This dialogue forms parts of the Bupa and IDF strategic partnership for diabetes prevention Diabetes Futures. Through this, IDF will produce of a series of policy reports focusing on strategic and emerging issues in diabetes prevention and management, aiming to inform global policy and practice.
The first Diabetes Futures report on Diabetes and Climate Change will be launched around the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June 2012.
More information on Diabetes & climate change: an expert dialogue 
See photos from the event © point-of-views.ch