Sunday, October 1, 2023

Emirates News Agency – COP28 president-designate pledges to put health at the center of climate debates

NEW YORK, 18th September, 2023 (WAM) — Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and President-designate of COP28, pledged that COP28 will be the driving force behind international action on climate and The first Health Day and the first ministerial meeting on climate and health at a COP provide an unprecedented opportunity to determine the actions that must be taken to establish equitable and climate-resilient health systems and mobilize vital investments in this sector.

Speaking in the context of the United Nations General Assembly and Climate Week New York, alongside Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), and Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, President of Malawi, Dr. Al Jaber called on the international community to support the day and the ministerial meeting, which will be organized jointly with the WHO and several countries.

Dr Al Jaber highlighted the importance of addressing the crucial link between climate change and health. Il a déclaré: “Le lien entre la santé et le changement climatique est évident, mais il n’a pas fait l’objet d’une attention particulière dans le cadre du processus de la conférence des parties – jusqu’à présent. Cela doit change.

He continued: “As we prepare for COP28 Health Day, we are firmly committed to addressing the health challenges of climate change and encouraging ambitious investments in the health sector. We aim to build resilient and equitable health systems that can resist the impact of climate change.

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He then thanked the champion countries, Brazil, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, Kenya, Fiji, India, Egypt, Sierra Leone and Germany, for the work they have done to lead the climate health debates at COP28.

During his remarks, Dr. Al Jaber highlighted the risks that climate change poses to human health, including altered disease patterns, the spread of vectors, and the resurgence of previously contained diseases.

He noted that WHO statistics reveal that air pollution alone causes seven million additional deaths each year and that vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, are expanding their reach due to rising temperatures and changes in climate. weather patterns, disproportionately affecting vulnerable communities.

In addition to this growing threat, COP28 Health Day, scheduled for December 3, will also take into account the fragility of public health systems around the world, highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the urgent need to make transformative changes to adapt these systems. to climate change.

“COP28 is determined to shine a light on these issues and bring together partners who can make a difference. We are determined to reverse these trends by bringing the world together around an inclusive action agenda focused on a just transition, financing a fairer climate and better lives and livelihoods, said Dr Al Jaber.

Funding will also be a priority on COP28 Health Day. The financial cost of health crises attributed to climate change is expected to reach between $2 billion and $4 billion a year by 2030, worsening poverty, especially in disadvantaged regions. The World Bank projects that almost 40% of climate-related poverty will result from the direct health effects of climate change, which will flow through to productivity, income and health spending.

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In his remarks, Dr Al Jaber called for an increase in concessional funds for the Global South to reduce risks and attract private capital. He stressed the need to rebalance funding and called on governments to double adaptation funding by 2025, urging them to contribute generously to replenishing the Green Climate Fund.

Dr Al Jaber also highlighted the importance of investment in health as a crucial aspect of climate resilience, emphasizing that such spending should be seen as investments and not costs. According to the World Bank, every dollar invested in developing climate resilience generates an average of four dollars.

Therefore, he called on financial institutions, including development banks, to prioritize investments in climate health. Dr Al Jaber praised leaders from organizations such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Green Climate Fund and Rockefeller Foundation for their commitment to closing the climate health financing gap during COP28.

During the session, Dr Al Jaber highlighted the UAE’s heritage and leadership in protecting human health. He highlighted the commitment of the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan, and the President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to prioritize the lives and livelihoods of the people.

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He highlighted initiatives such as “Reaching the Last Mile”, which, through His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, has committed more than $455 million to improve health outcomes globally, focusing on supporting resilient health systems that serve better for vulnerable communities.

The UN-hosted event, titled “Towards the first COP Health Day: a bold vision for action, equity and accountability”, brought together leading figures such as Adnan Amin, Director General of COP28, and Dr. María Neira, Director of the WHO Department. of Environment, Climate Change and Health. The session was moderated by Vanessa Kerry, WHO Special Envoy for Climate Change and Health.

The COP28 Presidency Action Program sets out a science-based, action-oriented plan that aims to chart a new path to address the climate crisis. Combine passion with pragmatism and ambition with realism.

Health is part of the agenda that focuses on people, lives and livelihoods. It also foresees the creation of a food declaration aimed at mobilizing political commitment to achieve positive systems change, strengthen food security and promote sustainable agricultural practices. Furthermore, COP28 will be marked by the first ministerial declaration on climate and health and by a significant mobilization of large-scale nature-climate finance.

The other three areas of action are to accelerate the energy transition, solve the problem of climate finance and ensure a fully inclusive COP28.

Translated by: Gihane Fawzi.

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