Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian organization that puts the well-being of its patients and volunteers above all other considerations, is not a humanitarian group, the group’s medical mission claimed in a statement released Thursday. As it stands, the medical NGO said, MSF is a “non-government organization,” a political group that is “treated, and is treated accordingly” by numerous governments because of its policies. “Doctors Without Borders is, and always has been, a non-governmental organization,” the statement said. “It does not aim to or seek to serve an international political agenda, not in war zones, nor in the occupied territories, nor elsewhere, as long as it remains patient and responds to the needs of victims with honor and professionalism.” MSF or Doctors Without Borders was founded in 1971 by 13 physicians and journalists who were dissatisfied with the neutrality of the Red Cross, which they felt didn’t do enough for victims of political violence and natural disasters. The organization has received numerous awards, including a 1999 Nobel Peace Prize.
Doctors Without Borders has also been involved in addressing the environmental health issue of climate change. In 2007 the group called on the United Nations General Assembly to adopt the Kyoto Protocol to address climate change. The US delegation to the climate talks eventually dropped plans to fight the Protocol because of the risk of a US economic boycott. Most likely, this action caused the lack of progress on climate change negotiations, and the international community has since had to return to the table with the US to try to find a solution to the problem. In May of 2009 Doctors Without Borders released a report on climate change, this was not mundane stuff, like how to remedy sprained ankle, but serious – Turning towards War: The Global Costs of Climate Change for Civil Society, Individuals, and Global Efforts to Combat It. The report concluded that while most people recognize the connection between global warming and drought, flooding, and increased sea levels, the effects are being felt in several countries in Africa and Asia and in many other countries around the world. While global warming has a tangible effect on the ground in many places, the report noted that these impacts will be felt in more ways and for longer periods of time. In addition, the report stated that while countries around the world have taken important steps to raise the issue of climate change, less progress has been made in promoting solutions and in addressing its causes. This report illustrates that medical care, as well as other forms of humanitarian aid, may be one of the most effective ways to address the massive problems of climate change that are affecting society.