UAE—During the first Health Day at COP, almost 40 million health professionals worldwide responded to the World Health Organization (WHO) and civil society organizations’ request to promote health in climate negotiations at COP28.
The climate inaction, which is costing lives and negatively harming health every day, has pushed health workers to demand fast and drastic action.
This actions include phasing out fossil fuels, transitioning to clean energy, creating resilience, and assisting vulnerable communities affected by climate change.
Speaking during the conference, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, emphasized the need for health professionals to work together to solve the serious problems faced by health and climate change.
He underscored the importance of community efforts to enhance health outcomes and address climate issues, encouraging a commitment to contribute to a healthier and more resilient environment for future generations.
The year 2023 has seen an increase in climate-related calamities, such as wildfires, heatwaves, and droughts, resulting in population displacement, agricultural losses, and increased air pollution.
The current climate crisis has dramatically raised the risk of life-threatening infections such as cholera, malaria, and dengue.
In response, WHO and more than 40 million health professionals are urging countries to fulfill their promises and put the Paris Agreement into action.
Furthermore, the professionals are calling for a faster phase-out of fossil fuels and increasing their desire for a better, fairer, and greener future for humanity.
Recognizing the vital importance of robust and resilient health systems in protecting communities from the severe health effects of climate change, there is a concerted effort underway to construct climate-resilient, low-carbon health systems.
This emphasis extends to climate action and finance efforts at the local, national, and global levels.
The COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health, which is sponsored by 120 nations, has been endorsed by health ministers from around the world.
This declaration emphasizes the serious health consequences of climate change, the critical role of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement, and emphasizes the urgent need for collaborative efforts to address the links between climate change and health.
As a further commitment to a healthier planet, the need for funding climate-resilient health systems is emphasized.
The health sector, which presently receives barely 0.5% of global climate finance, requires a significant boost in resources.
Financial contributions that meet the scale of the task are required to successfully address continuing health crises and adapt to a shifting global health landscape.
With the health sector confronted with unprecedented challenges, immediate action is required to overcome the budgetary gap.
The sector’s capacity to innovate, adapt, and deliver optimal care can be increased by boosting funding and guaranteeing a resilient healthcare infrastructure for today’s issues and the uncertainties of tomorrow.
WHO applauded the COP28 Presidency’s efforts at the conference to highlight the health emergency and provide a high-level platform for climate and health, including the inaugural Health Day and the Climate and Health Ministerial.
WHO is committed to collaborating with partners and donors to ensure the Declaration’s priorities are effectively implemented.
The WHO-led Alliance for Transformative Action on Climate and Health (ATACH), a global platform with over 75 committed governments, partners, bilateral donors, and researchers, will embrace and support the Declaration’s aims.
Furthermore, WHO pledged to expand its climate change and health portfolio, making climate change a priority across all WHO programs through its core duties of leadership, evidence, and, most critically, country implementation.
WHO affirmed its commitment to global health and climate action by pledging its support to health ministries around the world.