Dubai, UAE, 30 November 2023:- As health ministers gather in Dubai for COP28, the Global Climate and Health Alliance – which represents 160 health organisations – today urged them to join the health community in demanding that the health and wellbeing of people around the world is established as a central focus and benchmark for progress during the annual climate negotiations.

A letter sent this week to health ministers salutes ministers’ participation in COP28, adding that “you have the power to drive change. As custodians of health and wellbeing, COP28 is your chance to act on the behalf of people around the world who are looking to you for leadership”.

The letter was sent to health ministers of G20 countries attending COP28 countries – Australia, Brazil, Canada, France , Germany, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Kingdom and USA, along with the EU Commissioner for Health, and health ministers from EU members Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, Malta, and Cyprus. See Notes below for more details on the recipients. 

“We are doctors, nurses, clinicians, and therapists”, the letter continues. “We are health advocates, researchers, public health and policy experts. Wherever we are in the world, we are seeing how climate change is impacting our patients, our communities, our public health and healthcare systems.”

“As you know, the climate and nature crisis is a health emergency”, says the letter. “Respiratory diseases are increasing; heatwaves, droughts, and floods are driving up mortality rates; humanitarian disasters are becoming more frequent and more intense – and our patients are paying the price with their health, well-being and indeed their lives. Our health systems are struggling to deliver with the current levels of warming. Without mitigation, we will quickly reach the limits of adaptation”.

“During COP28, health ministers have a unique opportunity to drive real change”, said Dr Jeni Miller, Executive Director of the Global Climate and Health Alliance. “As custodians of our health systems, health ministers have the power and influence to ensure that the health and wellbeing of people around the world is at the heart of COP28 – and all future climate summits.”

“While we welcome the COP28 Presidency making health a focus of COP28 with a Health Day and the planned signing of a health declaration by UN member states, health must also be the guiding star of the decisions made throughout the negotiations themselves”, said Miller. “It is not enough for climate summits to merely acknowledge the impact of climate change on our health – for COP28 to go down in history as the first ‘Health COP’, it must tackle the primary source of the climate crisis: the continued extraction and use of fossil fuels including coal, oil and gas.”

“Investment in strengthening our health systems and adaptation across sector, are essential to protecting people’s health from the climate change impacts we’re currently experiencing. Our health systems are already under strain. Without addressing the drivers of climate change, temperatures will increase beyond what we can adapt to.”

“This is why health professionals are asking ministers of health to join us in addressing a key driver of climate warming, by demanding a full phase-out of fossil fuels as a public health imperative. We must avoid the absurdity of climate summits becoming a fossil fuel industry tradeshow, which would make a mockery of the very reason we gather for climate summits, and the work of those striving for a better world”, concluded Miller.

The Global Climate and Health Alliance joins the international health community in calling for:

  1. A full phase-out of fossil fuels is a public health imperative. As G20 countries with some of the largest historic emissions, they must demonstrate leadership.
  2. A loss and damage fund that serves the health needs of communities, particularly those most impacted and least responsible for climate change.
  3. Finance for climate action across all fronts.
  4.  Recognition of health as an outcome and a key measure and indicator of effective climate action.

Contacting health professionals during COP28: Email [email protected] to make contact with health experts from around the world attending COP28. Let us know what subjects and regions you’re covering.


The Global Climate and Health Alliance has written to the following health ministers:

  • The Hon Mark Butler MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care, Australia
  • Dr Nísia Trindade, Minister of Health, Brazil
  • The Hon Mark Holland, Minister of Health, Canada,
  • Mr Aurélien Rousseau, Minister of Social Affairs and Health, France
  • Prof. Dr. Karl Lauterbach, Federal Minister of Health, Germany
  • Prof Orazio Schillaci, Minister of Health, Italy
  • Mr Keizo Takemi, Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan
  • Fahd bin Abdurrahman Al-Jalajel, Minister of Health, Saudi Arabia
  • Dr. Fahrettin Koca, Minister of Health, Turkey
  • Rt Hon Victoria Atkins MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, United Kingdom
  • Admiral Rachel L. Levine, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health, USA
  • Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety
  • Mr Johannes Rauch, Federal Minister of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection, Austria
  • Prof. Dr. Hristo Hinkov, Minister of Health, Bulgaria
  • Ms. Popi Kanari, Minister of Health, Republic of Cyprus
  • Kaisa Juuso, Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Finland
  • Hon. Chris Fearne, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health, Malta
  • Ernst Kuipers, Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport, Netherlands
  • Ms Acko Ankarberg Johansson, Minister for Health Care, Sweden


Also during COP28:

Visit the Global Climate and Health Alliance (GCHA) COP28 Health Hub

  • Key List of Events that is GCHA is participating in:
  • Health segment of the World Climate Action Summit, 2 December 11:00-12:00 – be live streamed on the UNFCCC website.
  • Methane Mitigation and Health: A Global Health Strategy: Stakeholders from waste, energy, agriculture and public health sectors discuss methane’s impact on climate change and linkages to health –Saturday, 9 December, 15:15 to 16:30 (Dubai, GMT+4)
  • Background: Mitigating Methane: A Global Health Strategy – Making deep cuts to global methane emissions could deliver substantial health benefits while also limiting global warming to 1.5C or close to it, according to a series of report. During COP28, fossil fuel-producing countries will likely be challenged to commit to concrete actions towards eliminating methane leaks from existing fossil fuel facilities, as a near term step to reduce global warming.
  • Press release; Slashing Global Methane Emissions Crucial to Human Health – Report
  • Knock out Methane’, a provocative and tongue-in-cheek animated video produced for GCHA by Wit and Wisdom, explores how methane’s role in the biggest threat to public health – climate change – can be diminished through clear action.
  • The Climate and Us: A new series of short films on the connections between climate and health for the GCHA produced by BBC StoryWork will be screened in the COP28 Green Zone on December 4th.
    • The trailer will be screened as part of the COP28’s Health Day opening session on Dec 3 (0900-1100), following remarksby Global Climate and Health Alliance Executive Director Dr Jeni Miller.
    • A screening of four of the films will take place in The Green Zone on Monday December 4th at 1500, with Jeni Miller speaking alongside Simon Shelley, Global Vice President for BBC Studios.
    • On December 5th, one film will be screened at the Entertainment & Culture Pavilion at 0915.
    • For more details, contact [email protected]

See also:


Dave Walsh, Communications Advisor, Global Climate and Health Alliance, [email protected], +34 691 826 764

About GCHA
The Global Climate and Health Alliance is the leading global convenor of more than 160 health professional and health civil society organizations addressing climate change. We are a consortium of health organizations from around the world united by a shared vision of an equitable, sustainable future, in which the health impacts of climate change are minimized, and the health co-benefits of climate change mitigation are maximised.


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