UAE — The COP28 Presidency has unveiled the ‘COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate and Health,’ aiming to expedite measures to safeguard people’s health amid escalating climate consequences.
This pivotal announcement was made during the World Climate Action Summit, coinciding with the commencement of COP28.
Significantly, it was released a day prior to the inaugural Health Day at COP28, representing a groundbreaking step in recognizing the imperative for governments to protect communities and fortify healthcare systems.
The Declaration has been endorsed by 123 nations, underscoring the urgency of addressing climate-induced health impacts, including severe heat, air pollution, and infectious diseases.
Noteworthy country champions, such as Brazil, Malawi, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, Kenya, Fiji, India, Egypt, Sierra Leone, and Germany, contributed to shaping this collaborative initiative.
Amidst the yearly toll of 9 million deaths from polluted air and 189 million people exposed to harsh weather events, the COP28 President, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, emphasized that climate change stands as a paramount challenge to human health in the twenty-first century.
As a result, he urged governments to prioritize health within climate action while asserting that the Declaration sends a strong signal for countries to reduce global emissions and enhance health systems.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, on his part, advocated for the recognition of climate as a serious health crisis in climate debates.
He commended the UAE for prioritizing health during its COP28 presidency and emphasized the need to establish climate-resilient and low-carbon health systems for both planetary and human well-being.
Malawi’s President, Lazarus Chakwera, endorsed the declaration and highlighted the increasing impact of climate change on communities’ health and well-being.
He emphasized the need for bold investments in health, a just transition from fossil fuels, and a commitment to a healthier future.
The Declaration encompasses action areas at the intersection of climate and health, emphasizing cross-sectoral collaboration, the inclusion of health targets in national climate plans, and increased international cooperation.
Acknowledging financing as a critical driver, the COP28 Presidency collaborates with global entities to unveil ten principles, garnering support from over 40 financial partners and civil society organizations.
These principles aim to strengthen climate and health financing, mobilize new finance, and foster innovation.
Notably, partners commit to providing USD 1 billion to address the mounting challenges posed by the climate-health nexus.
The COP28 Presidency recognizes the necessity for widespread action, including substantial decarbonization, to cut emissions by at least 43% over the next seven years.
The Declaration’s unveiling at the World Climate Action Summit marks just one of several initiatives by the COP28 Presidency to mitigate the health impacts of climate change.
Additional plans include accelerated decarbonization and emission reduction, with the first-ever climate and health ministerial scheduled for COP28’s Health Day on December 3rd.
The meeting will bring together health ministers, senior health delegations, global health financiers, development banks, nations, philanthropies, and the private sector to address country priorities and scale up financial efforts for human health improvement.