Dubai: The COP28 Presidency, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), has introduced a new “COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate and Health” to accelerate efforts to safeguard public health from the escalating effects of climate change.
The Declaration was announced at the World Climate Action Summit, where world leaders gathered for the start of COP28.
One day before the first-ever Health Day at a COP, 123 nations signed the Declaration, which is a first in the world for recognizing the need for governments to safeguard communities and set up healthcare systems to handle the negative health effects of climate change, such as extreme heat, air pollution, and infectious diseases.
The Declaration was developed with the support of a number of ‘country champions’ including Brazil, Malawi, the UK, the US, the Netherlands, Kenya, Fiji, India, Egypt, Sierra Leone, and Germany. This joint action comes as annual deaths from polluted air hit almost 9 million and 189 million people are exposed to extreme weather-related events each year.
“The Declaration sends a strong signal that we must reduce global emissions and work together to strengthen our health systems,” the COP28 President added.
The Declaration covers a range of action areas at the nexus of climate and health, including building more climate-resilient health systems, strengthening cross-sectoral collaboration to reduce emissions and maximize the health benefits of climate action, and increasing finance for climate and health solutions.
Signatories have also committed to incorporating health targets into their national climate plans and improving international collaboration to address the health risks of climate change, including at future COPs.