UAE—The World Bank has introduced a new Climate and Health Program aimed at mitigating the escalating adverse health impacts of climate change in low- and middle-income nations.
This announcement was made at COP28 on December 3, coinciding with the inaugural Health Day of the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28).
In this program, the World Bank will collaborate with countries to assess their climate and health vulnerabilities, enhance investments in climate-resilient health systems, and work with partners to mobilize additional financing, evidence, and collective action.
According to recent World Bank estimates, a warmer climate could lead to at least 21 million more deaths by 2050, stemming from five health risks: excessive heat, stunting, diarrhoea, malaria, and dengue.
To avert these potential fatalities, urgent measures are required to fortify health systems, particularly in climate-vulnerable nations, specifically Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The World Bank predicts that the health impacts of climate change could force an additional 44 million people into extreme poverty by 2030.
Mamta Murthi, the World Bank Vice President for Human Development, highlighted that climate change exacerbates health risks, creating a harmful cycle of illness and poverty with far-reaching consequences for human capital development.
She emphasized the World Bank’s commitment to leveraging its knowledge and financing through the Climate and Health Program to assist countries in addressing health risks associated with climate change.
The goal is to foster collaboration across interconnected sectors, bring together partners, and optimize financing and activities.
Under the Climate and Health Program, research will be conducted to identify cost-effective approaches to address climate and health crises.
This includes increasing funding for solutions to help nations establish sustainable and resilient health systems.
The program will generate evidence and knowledge to inform investments by systematically assessing climate-related health vulnerabilities in developing countries.
Moreover, the initiative stresses the importance of investing in country-tailored and evidence-based solutions, scaling up investments for low-carbon resilient health systems, and incorporating better monitoring and early warning systems.
The World Bank is already operating with a $34 billion health portfolio in over 100 countries.
As part of this comprehensive approach, the World Bank collaborates with the World Health Organization, Gavi, The Global Fund, foundations, and other stakeholders to optimize the impact of global, regional, and country efforts to scale up climate-health action.
Additionally, the World Bank is co-convening a Development Bank Working Group on Climate-Health Finance to align and maximize climate and health expenditures.
The gravity of the climate catastrophe’s impact on the health of current and future generations hinges on the decisions made today.
The World Bank is steadfast in its dedication to assisting countries in addressing what is deemed the most significant public health problem of our time.