A snapshot into the climate change and health pre-GA

A snapshot into the climate change and health pre-GA


I’m Kelly from McGill and I have been involved in IFMSA-Qc for two years now. My first year, I was a local officer for human rights and peace where I initiated and coordinated the first human rights and peace conference at McGill on refugee health first McGill and this year as a campus coordinator for global health. Over the summer, I did an internship at the World Health organization coordinating the youth consultation for climate change and health and am hoping to continue this climate change advocacy more locally in Canada. I am very excited to have been chosen to join the Quebec delegation to the 2015 IFMSA General Assembly in Turkey as I am passionate about the intersections between human rights and health and am looking forward to the sessions I will be attending on this subject as part of the Standing Committee for Human Rights and Peace.


My learning objectives for this GA are the

1) Understand the context of IFMSA students in the UN political scene

2) Learn more about human rights national and local advocacy projects from around the world

3) Learn about the main projects that the IFMSA is working on

4) Find out what projects worked and didn’t work

5) Compare and build the best way to structure human rights projects in Canada

6) Get exposure to new cultures, mindsets and languages


Thanks and will keep you updated throughout the week!




So grateful to be in the beautiful city of Istanbul. Its my second day here and I am already inspired by all the students and new faces that I am meeting from all over the world. Here is a small summary of what I have experienced so far:

Day 1

When we landed in the airport, we were immediately welcomed by the friendly Turkish delegation with red t-shirts. They led us to a lovely group of individuals from all over (Switzerland, Portugal, Morocco, Czech republic, Chile) and we were promptly crammed into a bus where we piled in with our luggage, shared some local snacks and began to forge lovely cross cultural friendships during our 4 hour long bus ride. Exhausted and tired, we ate and went to sleep to catch up on some much needed rest after our 10 hour-long plane ride.

Day 2

Incredible day today. Waking up to the foggy skyline of Istanbul was a beautiful way to start the discussions on climate change and health. It was the first day of our pre-General assembly workshops and I chose to attend the climate health workshop to continue some of the work I did in youth climate change advocacy. After a lovely Turkish breakfast of breads, we started off with some of the basics of climate change presented by Alice from Australia. What I loved was the huge diversity of students in our class, I made good friends with two Kazahk girls and was introduced to many passionate people from Denmark, Kenya, Sweden, Poland, Iran, Lebanon, Algeria, Sudan, China, Australia among others. After a few informative sessions on the climate change as well as the ways that climate change affects our health and the benefits to our health by tackling climate change (by Isobel), we had a few interactive sessions that were very powerful. Many students shared their personal stories about how climate change impacts their communities such as typhoons, heat waves, food insecurity, conflict and increase in infectious as well as non-communicable diseases. We all took turns filling a globe with post-it notes to illustrate which areas would be hardest hit and also to demonstrate that changing climate will affect peoples health everywhere. It also helped to illustrate the fact that the countries hardest hit are the ones that are least likely to contribute to climate change in the first place. Charlotte had the last presentation on the international politics of climate change and a bit about what had been done. Overall a very energizing and inspiring session!


Day 3

The momentum was only built upon today where we focused on practical ways that we are able to run an advocacy campaign in Canada. We had a few more practical examples of climate change projects that had been done in other countries such as Earth hour in Tunisia, Samso (a fossil free island) near Denmark, and Climate youth coalition in Taiwan. In the morning, we did very interactive sessions on what inspires us, we listed people who inspired us and deconstructed what it was about them that made them influential. We also explored what to put in our narratives to make them convincing. We watched inspiring examples of this such as the Rio 1992 speech of Severn Suzuki calling for action as well as Obama’s inauguration speech. In the afternoon we talking about the practicalities of what goes into making a successful campaign and how we can design and run such a campaign such as framing our arguments, identifying our targets and communicating our methods. Some examples include an interactive session where we pretended we were interviewed by the press and had to convince them why climate change is a health problem too. We also did an activity where we designed our own campaign to a fake company trying to convince them to divest from fossil fuels.


Day 4

The last day of the pre-GA was an emotional one. We had gotten to know each other pretty well at this point and this session was a way to put our ideas into action. We tried to finish up our movie by filming our stories about why climate change is important to us. We also took pictures with a hashtag to tweet to our politicians about climate change and health. As a Sudanese delegate was very used to having oral debates, we had a very heated one on the issue that climate change is not a health issue. It helped to reaffirm what we had learned over the past few days, and the importance of this topic. One of the most important discussions we had was about our wellness, in order to find out a realistic and reflective plan about what we could work on and how we can stay motivated with such a daunting topic. We had a very realistic discussion about the difficulty with addressing climate change issues. We each shared our plans after the session and got more time to get along with each other. I feel very grateful to have explored this global health problem with medical students from all around the world.