The letter of 40 million doctors to the G20 leaders: “A healthy Planet is needed to leave after Covid”


For our health, we must start from the health of the planet. 40 million of them say and write loudly among doctors and health workers from all over the world, from 90 countries. In a joint statement launched today with the hashtag at #HealthyRecovery (, health professionals asked leaders of the G20 countries to actively engage in the battle against the climate crisis, for a less polluted world and greener, with a sustainable footprint that will try to avoid future pandemics.

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Doctors, represented by various associations (in Italy, for example ISDE Doctors for the Environment and Federation of Doctors for Surgery and Dentists FNOMCeO), ask governments to prioritize investments in public health, for air and clean water, for investments capable of reduce climate-changing emissions. The aim is to invite world leaders to reason for a post Covid-19 restart that focuses on human health, starting with what we can do to create greater resilience to future pandemics. Here, therefore, that professionals ask to invest to reduce air pollution that kills millions of people in the world and weakens our bodies, for example at the lung level, as observed during the coronavirus emergency. But also investing in sustainable agriculture, for the farewell to fossil fuels in favor of renewables, for low-carbon mobility.
“If governments made major reforms to current subsidies for fossil fuels, shifting most of them towards the production of renewable and clean energy, our air would be healthier and climate emissions would be drastically reduced, fueling an economic recovery that, from here by 2050, it would stimulate global GDP gains for almost 100 trillion dollars “reads the text of the letter.Altogether, the signatories of the letter represent more than half of the world’s health and medical workforce. Theirs is an appeal to return in the future to be “stronger, healthier and more resistant”, and for a greater involvement of the medical and scientific community in the development of packages useful for redesigning a better world.

Thousands of doctors, nurses and health professionals worldwide died during the Covid-19 pandemic. The signatories of this appeal ask that from the pain for the loss of colleagues we can start again by reasoning to build a different planet, ready to face any other epidemics, better in the management of public health and in that of the environment.

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Doctors say that healthcare facilities will also have to drive the revolution in the future to cut emissions: examples are already coming from the UK’s National Health Service which has already reduced its emissions by nearly a fifth in the past decade (and has announced zero carbon emissions in advance of 2050), or by the American Medical Association and the Royal College of General Practitioners which has approved resolutions asking to divest from companies that deal with fossil fuels, or even from hospitals in Boston and the Wisconsin who are generating their own energy efficient electricity. With a joint effort from everyone, they argue, we can design a healthy planet for a healthy life.

The letter – For a #HealthyRecovery. Here is the text of the appeal signed by 40 million doctors and addressed to all G20 leaders and for knowledge to all G20 scientific, medical and health advisors.

“Healthcare professionals address the management of the COVID-19 pandemic united in a pragmatic and science-based approach. In the same spirit, we are also united in supporting a true #HealthyRecovery healing from this crisis.

We have seen firsthand how fragile communities can be when health, food safety and job freedom are interrupted by a common threat. The levels of this ongoing tragedy are many and amplified by inequalities and insufficient investment in public health systems. We have witnessed death, disease and mental distress to levels never seen for decades.
These effects could have been partially mitigated, or perhaps even prevented, by adequate investments in pandemic preparedness, public health and environmental management.

We must learn from these mistakes and go back to being stronger, healthier and more resistant. Before Covid-19, air pollution was already weakening our bodies. This pollution (from traffic, inefficient use of residential energy, coal-fired power plants, incinerators and intensive agriculture) causes seven million premature deaths each year, increasing both the risks of pneumonia and their severity; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, heart disease and stroke; it also leads to adverse pregnancy outcomes such as low birth weight and asthma, further challenging our health systems.

True healing means no longer allowing pollution to continue to contaminate the air we breathe and the water we drink, and not allowing deforestation and climate change to advance unabated, potentially potentially sparking new health threats on a vulnerable population .

In a healthy economy and civil society, the most vulnerable are cared for; workers have access to well-paid jobs that do not aggravate pollution and environmental devastation; cities give priority to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport; rivers and skies are protected and clean. Nature is thriving, our bodies are more resistant to infectious diseases and nobody gets reduced to poverty because of the health costs. To achieve this healthy economy we must use smarter incentives and disincentives to serve a healthier and more resilient society.
If governments made major reforms to current fossil fuel subsidies, shifting most of them towards renewable and clean energy production, our air would be healthier and climate emissions would drop dramatically, fueling an economic recovery that, from here to 2050, would boost global GDP gains for nearly $ 100 trillion.
So, while paying attention to the answers to be given for post-Covid, we ask that your managers and medical and scientific advisors be directly involved in the design of all the packages for economic recovery; that report on the short and long-term effects on public health that the actions indicated may have, and which in the light of these give their stamp of approval.

The huge investments that your governments will make in the coming months, in key sectors such as health care, transport, energy and agriculture, must focus on the protection and promotion of health; because what the world needs now is a #HealthyRecovery.

Your plans to incentivize the economy must be a prescription for this. Best regards”.

The letter

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