Abu Dhabi, 14 March 2023:- Responding to the announcement by COP28 director-general, Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi, that a ‘Health Day’ will take place during this year’s UN climate summit, the Global Climate and Health Alliance welcomed the elevation of health, but also emphasized that to make a real difference to people’s health, the climate negotiations must deliver real progress across climate mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage, with approaches that maximize health benefits and avoid unintended health harms.
“Declaring an official health day at COP28 is welcome proof of the growing political realization that the climate crisis is also a health crisis. However, protection of human health from the impacts of climate warming must also be embedded in the substance of the negotiations themselves this December,” said Dr Jeni Miller, Executive Director of the Global Climate and Health Alliance, which brings together over 130 health organizations from around the world to tackle climate change and to protect and promote public health.
The announcement comes during the Forecasting Healthy Futures conference in Abu Dhabi on March 14, where COP28 director-general, Ambassador Majid Al Suwaidi noted both the immense threat that climate change poses for people’s health around the world, and the urgency to mitigate climate change, as well as the need to increase the proportion of climate funding that goes to health.
“Ultimately, the protection of people’s health and well being around the world must drive decision making in the negotiation halls”, said Miller. “The focus on health must be a spur to drive commitments to a full phase out of fossil fuels, in line with the science, and should guide financing towards supporting low income countries so that they can meet their mitigation and adaptation goals, and loss and damage needs. It should motivate active integration of health throughout climate decision making.”
“The inclusion of an official health day at COP28 is a leap forward that we hope will induce health ministers to not only attend and actively participate in the climate summit, but to ensure that health becomes a major lynchpin of climate action”, added Miller.
“Health discussions at COP28 must be action-oriented, and any announcements or initiatives must have accountability mechanisms attached”, concluded Miller. “Today, we are still on track for a catastrophic 2.7C of warming. COP28’s health day will not in itself protect people’s wellbeing, but can be a tremendous success if it motivates a rapid acceleration of climate action, across sectors, to deliver health.”
Dave Walsh, Communications Advisor, Global Climate and Health Alliance, +34 691 826 764 (Europe) – [email protected] is checked regularly.
Forecasting Healthy Futures conference
The Global Climate and Health Alliance is the leading global convenor of 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.
Find out more: https://climateandhealthalliance.org/about/